So who is going to put the ARL vision into place?

NO new teams but plenty of new players, fans, club members, grassroots investment and income ... and a new logo.

That was the grand plan unveiled for the game by Australian Rugby League Commission chairman John Grant.

One of the big questions that remained unanswered was just who was going to put the vision into practice.

Grant denied he was not frustrated by the ongoing search for a new chief executive to replace David Gallop, although he did admit it would have made sense to have had that person involved in setting the sport's strategic objectives.

"I think we're working down a process and we're narrowing it down every time we meet with someone," Grant said.

"We're now (with) what we regard as a very short list and we'd hope that we can conclude that.

"But, you know, sometimes stuff happens and you don't get the outcomes you want. But that's where we are at the moment.

"It's absolutely clear to everyone that these things sometimes take longer than you expect them to."

Grant said expansion was off the agenda for at least two years for two key reasons.

The first was to ensure the existing 16 clubs were on a sustainable financial footing, and the second was because not enough research had been done into the reasons behind expanding the number of clubs.

"We have not undertaken as an administration a review of what does expansion mean for us, where should we expand, on what basis should we expand, what are the criteria for our footy clubs?" Grant said.

"There's a whole bunch of questions that remain unanswered."

While some of the syndicate backers who had hoped to be part of the NRL sooner rather than later said the news may spell the end of their bids, others, including Perth businessman Tony Sage, said they still hoped to eventually become part of the competition.

"While disappointed in the NRL's decision not to expand the competition during the next two years, I'm not surprised given my discussions with the NRL over the past few months," the Perth Glory owner said.

"However, I do look forward to a more favourable decision in 2015."

Features of the five-year plan:

  • An NRL Growth Fund will have made $200m available for investment in key projects
  • Club membership will reach 400,000
  • Rugby League social media platforms will engage 5.8m people
  • The average attendance at NRL games will increase to 20,000
  • 700,000 people will play in competitions
  • 1.8m people will be engaged in NRL community programs
  • 1.65m people will take part in Rugby League activities
  • 84% of all NRL players will be engaged in education or career training
  • Central revenue will have doubled to more than $300m.


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