NRL’s Sharks target A-League sister franchise

Cronulla Sharks chief executive Lyall Gorman wants the NRL rugby league team to launch a franchise in the A-League football competition.

Gorman believes Cronulla could have a football team ready to enter the A-League by 2017, when Football Federation Australia (FFA) is reportedly ready to expand the number of teams in the competition.

Before taking the reins with the Sharks last month, Gorman spent two years with Western Sydney Wanderers – the A-League team that enjoyed a rapid rise to become AFC Champions League-winners this year having only launched in April 2012.

"Absolutely it can be ready," Gorman told the Sydney Morning Herald newspaper with regards to a 2017 football franchise, having held preliminary talks with the Sharks board. "That's a conversation with the board to have within the Sharks, but you own your own ground, it's rectangular, you're in the heartland of the participation base. I have no doubt if the board thought it was the appropriate thing to do, time wouldn't be a challenge.

"If it ever came to fruition, it would be naive of the Sharks not to look at that and the business model and to see whether they can make it work. When you look at the leverage that shared services could provide you, one brand is a very strong case for that sort of model."

FFA chief executive David Gallop said expansion is not immediately on the organisation’s agenda, although he envisages a future where the A-League is bigger than its present 10-team roster. “Expansion is not on our immediate agenda, but clearly we want to move to more than 10 teams,” he said.

"We will need to carefully consider not only the financial viability of any new franchise but the impact of that new franchise on the league as well as the existing clubs. The big metropolitan areas of Sydney and Melbourne currently have two clubs and whether a third club would work is something we will look at in great detail. It's too early to consider a joint venture with a club from another code but there are models around the world where it has worked."