Who is the most powerful NRL club? Part 2

After outlining my criteria and the three weakest clubs in Part 1, here is Part 2 of this six-part series.

11. Cowboys
Premierships – one
Members – 17,345
Crowds – 14,755
Index total – 32,100
The Cowboys are crowd favourites and can play an exciting brand of footy. Johnathon Thurston made his name at the club after leaving Sydney, which led to them winning their only grand final.

Always a team that could get decent sponsorship deals, the new Townsville Stadium the government built for them will add to their future gate receipts.

Their location and being in the shadow of the Broncos is an albatross that doesn’t make them as influential as they could be.

12. Bulldogs
Premierships – eight
Members – 16,303
Crowds – 15,018
Index total – 31,321
They are a team from the suburbs that has an established fan-base that still clings on to the ‘Dogs of War’ moniker to reflect their defence mentality of the ’80s.

The Dogs have a massive leagues club behind them that has funded many deals in the past. This is one of the most successful pokie palaces in Sydney that has grown over the decades.

Former club boss Peter Moore had the ear of Phillip Street when Ken Arthurson and John Quayle were in charge and that would have lifted the Bulldogs higher up this list in years past. They no longer have such influence at League Central.

Instead of blue-chip sponsorship deals, they have a chicken food service wholesaler as one of their sponsors. This season the prime real estate on the front of the jersey is bare.

Add to this playing at a 80,000-seat stadium and a decent crowd could be mistaken for social distancing. They have strong press support in Sydney and a decent TV draw, but the mighty have fallen.


(Photo by Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images)

13. Sea Eagles
Premierships – eight
Members – 12,477
Crowds – 14,309
Index total – 26,786
Like Canterbury, Manly do have a leagues club behind them but it is more a RSL sub-branch than a modern, money-making machine.

The Silvertails were once a glamour club who have since fallen on hard times. Now privately owned, the owners are either looking to sell or are rock solid according to who you believe.

Ken Arthurson was a Manly man when he ran the game and hence Manly was a more powerful beast than they now are.

Brookvale Oval is poor by modern standards and the NSW government sees no need to spend anything as the return on investment sees no upside.

They do attract good players and rate well on TV. Manly are a long way down the poor ranking, perhaps not in line with people’s expectation of them.

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