These are the simple statistics that show why the NRL must introduce a second Brisbane team.
The appetite for rugby league in the Queensland capital is double that of any Sydney club.
The Broncos average 31,792 fans at the best rugby league stadium in the country in the past five years.
It is a town that should host a rugby league game every week, not once a fortnight.
Try telling the 18,000 fans who crammed into Shark Park yesterday that their team has no future.
Try telling the northern beaches diehards their high-flying Sea Eagles don’t belong in this competition.
The NRL has been down this horrible road of emotion before.
The game lost tens of thousands of fans with the departure of the North Sydney Bears.
The game suffered a public relations battering that took years to overcome when South Sydney Rabbitohs fans marched on the streets to save their club.
Surely the NRL will tell the Nine network where to shove its proposal.
There is a much easier solution just north of the border.
Their crowds have now halved since the excitement of their early days in the new Robina stadium.
You walk around the town and no one is wearing their jersey.
This isn’t to say the Sydney clubs can just sit back and be guaranteed long-term security for the next 50 years. No one should get an indefinite gold pass.
Only one Sydney club, the Canterbury Bulldogs, average more than 15,000 fans in the past five years. The Sea Eagles average just 10,486.
The Sharks, Dragons and Canberra Raiders are just 12,000.
St George Illawarra have had two crowds of 6000 and 7000 this year. They should not survive on their great brand alone. This isn’t an A-grade competition.
If the Titans are to survive, the best option is a 17-team competition. In an era where player welfare has become so important, the odd number would give each team two byes.
The negative is that the game has to find another $13 million each year as a grant for the extra team. Plus there is the old argument of trying to find another 30 quality players.
Sydney’s nine clubs will not survive forever. One or two will eventually go broke and be forced out.
At least their fans won’t be blaming the NRL or the TV networks. It will be their own fault.