Rip Van Winkle slept for 20 years and awoke to find that much had changed compared to life when he started napping.
The North Sydney Bears used to be one of the NRL clubs, but they only played two seasons under the NRL banner. They were one of the “Foundation Clubs,” with a history dating back to 1908, long before the NRL took form.
North Sydney now functions as a feeder club for the Sydney Roosters after acting as the reserve grade for the South Sydney Rabbitohs.
There is a move afoot to bring North Sydney back into the NRL.
One advocate is Bears’ legend Bill Moore, who seems to be of the mind that an expanding NRL could benefit from the Bears’ recognition and 250,000 supporters from the New South Wales Cup competition.
Moore would be fine with a relocation to Perth, the Gold Coast or Brisbane, but he feels that a season playing out of North Sydney might not be a realistic course to follow.
“We’re not going to get a season playing out of North Sydney, we know that. But give us one game against Manly, it would be the biggest event in Australia sport.”
From resignation to hyperbole in the space of two sentences, Moore still thinks that the tradition the Bears would offer would be good for the game.
Would Bears’ supporters remain loyal if the club flew the NRL flag in Perth?
Some would and Perth has the population base to bring some new fans on board. Moore thinks finding new customers would be the harder side of the equation, saying, “The hardest thing is to find new customers, surely to get hundreds of thousands of new supporters is almost a pipeline dream?”
That certainly is a creative adaptation of the expression, as most of our fanciful imaginings are products of a briar pipe and not a pipeline carrying liquids or gases, but Moore’s argument still holds merit.