Roos should've moved to Qld: Barassi - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Roos should've moved to Qld: Barassi

By Todd Balym and Sam Lienert 13/12/2007 05:39:43 PM Comments (0)

AFL great Ron Barassi says the Kangaroos should have put the national growth of the game ahead of their own emotional ties to Melbourne and moved to the Gold Coast.

The two-times North Melbourne premiership coach (1975, 1977) said he could understand the Kangaroos board's decision to defiantly reject the AFL's relocation package last week, but it wasn't his preference.

Barassi told the club he thought they should accept the relocation deal and permanently move to the Gold Coast by 2010 for the betterment of the game.

The AFL Hall of Famer said no one club should be bigger than the game and for that reason he wished the Kangaroos moved to Queensland.

"Both sides have a strong point of view and neither are wrong in my opinion," said Barassi.

"But I think for the good of the game, which for me has always over-ridden one club no matter what the club is, the game is greater than the club surely.

"And for that reason I have finally, with a lot of difficulty, said lets go north."

"I've rarely gone away from the sport of football is bigger than everything, even Victoria.

"I've always had that approach and (the Kangaroos) know that."

Barassi fears there are still too many "small-minded people" in the sport who are against national expansion.

Barassi was coach at the Swans during their most turbulent period before on-field success in the mid 1990s helped establish a strong sustainable future in Sydney.

He said Australian Rules had wasted half a century by not entering the Sydney market earlier and the AFL can ill-afford to neglect growth regions such as the Gold Coast.

After rejecting a move, the Kangaroos are now quickly being faded out of the AFL's Gold Coast plans.

Their Gold Coast pre season camp was re-directed to country Victoria and the Carrara Stadium NAB Cup clash handed to Essendon and the Kangaroos sent to play in Darwin.

Club champion Glenn Archer expected the AFL to play hard ball.

"If I was in their shoes I'd probably do the same thing (as moving the NAB Cup match), because we're not going to be moving up there, they've obviously got to look for something else," he said.

"But I've got no doubt the AFL's probably going to try to make it hard for us, they weren't happy with our decision.

"It's just another hurdle we've got to jump over."

The Kangaroos, led by television personality James Brayshaw, are now fighting to become a financially viable club operating in Melbourne.

They have a new board, are searching for a new chief executive and trying to find five financial backers to create a $10 million investment fund.

Meanwhile the AFL has expressed a desire to press ahead with plans to create a 17th licence for a team to be based on the Gold Coast after 2010.

However, while Barassi supports the AFL's push into the Gold Coast he does not believe the competition should be expanded to 17 teams.

"I'm not too keen on the 17th team," he said.

"(But) Aussie Rules should be looking at places like the Gold Coast."

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