The subtle logo change fuelling a desperate bid for NRL inclusion

·Contributor
·3-min read
The Bears are positioning themselves to potentially make a play for the NRL's upcoming 18th club license. (Photo by Mark Evans/Getty Images)
The Bears are positioning themselves to potentially make a play for the NRL's upcoming 18th club license. (Photo by Mark Evans/Getty Images)

I think I speak for the majority of rugby league fans when I say I'd love to see the North Sydney Bears back in the NRL.

A generation of fans lost to the game when the Bears were chopped 23 years ago would immediately return and grand old North Sydney Oval restored to prime time after a couple of decades of near anonymity.

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And who doesn’t want to see the old Manly-Norths rivalry re-ignited, the animosity at nuclear level after the disastrous Northern Eagles marriage.

Whoever wrote the pre-nup for that one was wearing maroon and white and crossing fingers behind the back.

Apart from Manly fans with hate running through their veins, you won't find a dissenting voice against a Bears revival.

ARL Commissioner Peter V'Landys recently went on the record to say he'd love to see Norths re-born, claiming he is regularly stopped by fans asking when they will return.

But here's the thing.

The Bears have a proud history stretching back 114 years old and have repositioned themselves as a competitive force in the NSW Cup, acting as an important feeder club to the Roosters.

Their colours, heritage and history mean plenty to a lot of people.

They should not be seen as the drunk on the dancefloor, moving from would-be suitor to would-be suitor in the hope of finding someone to take them home.

The opposite is true.

Bears hoping to woo potential NRL bid

An 18th club will be introduced to the NRL in the next few years and consortiums are falling over themselves to align with the Bears, knowing they are riding strong coattails.

In recent times, North Sydney has been linked with partnerships to hopeful NRL franchises in Queensland, WA, New Zealand and the NSW Central Coast.

They are not welded to any particular model and a subtle change of direction last year - the club dropped the "North" and "Sydney" from its official logo and went with "Bears 1908" – was a sign nothing is off the table and the route to resurrection won't be dictated by compass.

Norths chairman Daniel Dickson, a switched-on operator with his finger on the NRL pulse, explained to fans: "We made the change to the logo to ensure we are being the team of the people.

North Sydney Bears have emerged as a force in the NSW Cup as they look to position themselves to elevate to the NRL. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)
North Sydney Bears have emerged as a force in the NSW Cup as they look to position themselves to elevate to the NRL. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

"Being more agile and a team of the people, the change to the logo was well received.

"We know the NRL do not want a Sydney-based team in its totality at North Sydney Oval all the time.

"We won’t be kicking anyone away from talking to us about potential ventures with the Bears."

And here comes the really important bit.

"The logo, the colours, the history, the heritage, the legends, the song…everything we've got at the Bears will not be prostituted," Dickson continued.

"That will never be for someone to sell, change, manipulate. Our history and heritage will go for another 114 years."

What's not to like?

"We just want to make sure that geographically we feel we are the team of the people, and we can take that to the people where the game needs to go," he said.

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