Extra NRL team is financial suicide: Johns
Former Melbourne Storm boss Chris Johns says it will be financial suicide to add a 17th NRL team and believes it is highly unlikely a Sydney club will relocate to Queensland.
Ex-Broncos great Johns is also riled by reports of a new consortium forming a bid for a second Brisbane-based team, saying the solution is re-branding the battling Gold Coast Titans and playing the majority of home games at Suncorp Stadium.
Expansion is again on the NRL agenda after weekend reports that Nine Network were pushing for a new Brisbane team to rival the Broncos by 2023 with one of Sydney's nine clubs either cut or relocated to Queensland.
NRL chief executive Todd Greenberg is compiling a report on the code with a view to identifying expansion zones in December.
Adding to the intrigue, News Corp said on Thursday that five Queensland businessmen worth more than $50 million had begun plans to form a bid to become Brisbane's second team with the NRL reportedly considering a 17-team model in 2023.
But Johns said in no uncertain terms that adding another team didn't make sense.
"To have 17 teams in the current economic climate is absolute stupidity - it would be financial suicide, it's fantasy-world stuff," he told AAP.
Johns also dismissed the notion of relocating a Sydney team to Queensland.
"There will be more chance of Jesus playing fullback for Jerusalem," he said.
Reports claimed Sydney-based outfits Cronulla and Manly plus the underperforming Titans were at risk of being axed in Nine Network boss director of sport Tom Malone's push for another Brisbane team.
Johns believed the solution was a re-named Titans embracing support from outlying areas like Redcliffe and Ipswich and playing most of their games at Suncorp Stadium, saying history showed Gold Coast was a "hick town" that could not solely support an NRL team.
"I think they should still be based on the Gold Coast but should be playing at least eight of their home games at Suncorp," he said.
"Re-name them Gold Coast-Brisbane or Greater Brisbane Titans, embrace the whole of southeast Queensland but play a couple of games down there (Gold Coast) where there is a little market.
"The Gold Coast is a little hick town. To try and run a national team there has proven in the past to be difficult.
"They have had the Giants, the Seagulls, the Chargers - it's not just this (Titans) organisation that has failed, every organisation has failed because they look too small, they have to aim big."
After running the Storm, Johns doubted whether the new Brisbane consortium's $50 million would be enough.
"It would be a drop in the ocean," he said.
"If those businessmen want to get involved, great but get them involved in the Titans.
"You do need a second team in southeast Queensland for people to get behind because the Broncos aren't everyone's cup of tea.
"But we need the Titans to embrace Brisbane. They are screaming for Sunday afternoon football.
"The Broncos own Friday night but there is never a game on Sunday in Brisbane at probably the world's best rugby league stadium.
"For that stadium to be underutilised is ridiculous."
© AAP 2019