If A-League clubs were NRL teams

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With the NRL getting underway over the past few weeks, this is a guide for every fan from across both codes.

If you love your club in either the A-Leagues or NRL and want to find a team to support in the other code, this is the article for you.

Whether their connections are historical or current, these are who the A-Leagues clubs would be if they were in the NRL…

Adelaide United – South Sydney Rabbitohs

Two sets of the most passionate fans in the game who both had to wait many years to break a trophy drought. In 2014 and 2016 respectively, the dreams of the entire fan bases came true, as many of them saw their team lift a trophy for the very first time.

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Whilst both teams have remained competitive since then, Adelaide with FFA Cup wins and Rabbitohs with a grand final appearance, they have not yet been able to win the league again.

Brisbane Roar – Brisbane Broncos

Whilst it is easy to just say that they are from the same city, the similarities run far deeper than that. Two of the most successful sides in the history of both competitions, boasting some of the best teams the respective leagues have ever seen.

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Unfortunately for both sides, those days have past, with the two teams struggling to relive their former glory of late. They have also seemed to let the wrong youngsters go recently, look at Reece Walsh and Dylan Wenzel-Halls.

Canberra United – Manly Sea Eagles

After a few tough seasons, both Manly and Canberra bounced back in 2021, making the finals off a standout performance from the eventual player of the season. Michelle Heyman and Tom Trbojevic were both scintillating through the year, scoring numerous goals or tries and getting their team into fourth.

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Unfortunately in 2022, the pair have been marked as the number one target, with both not quite living up to the heights of the previous year. In saying that, Turbo does have another 22 rounds to turn that around, something Canberra could not quite do.

Central Coast Mariners – St George Illawarra Dragons

A team based mainly near a beach community, the parallels between the two teams are clear. Since St George and Illawarra joined forces, they have seen reasonable success, with both the Mariners and Dragons having their best years in the early 2010’s.

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Unfortunately, since then both teams have seen a decline, struggling to make it back to the finals. Their fortunes have, however, been on the up lately, built on the back of a good group of local juniors. Could the Dragons do a Mariners and be a surprise finals inclusion in 2022?

Newcastle Jets – Newcastle Knights

Another one where the teams are from the same place but they also have remarkable similarities. Both clubs had their glory days, winning a title in the early stages of the respective competitions.

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Unfortunately since then they have regularly been rooted to the bottom of the ladder, and apart from the odd year, haven’t really made a dint in the competition. Despite this their fans still turn out in force, keen to watch their teams put on a show.

Melbourne City – Penrith Panthers

After years of showing promise, the last few years have been spectacular to say the least. Off the back of some of the best players in the game they got close to winning a few seasons back, before finally fulfilling their potential last year with a title.

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Both teams are still looking great in 2022, with the hopes of building a dynasty still certainly on the cards. They may however experience some problems retaining players in the coming years, with European clubs and other NRL teams both looking to entice their best talent away.

Western United – Cronulla Sharks

Whilst it is hard to compare Western United to anyone considering the lack of recent NRL expansion, the best appears to be with the Sharks. After making the finals in 2019/20, both squads found themselves just outside the places last season.

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After some great recruiting, 2022 seems to be a bounce back year, with some even speculating that they could be surprise contenders for the title.

Macarthur Bulls – Gold Coast Titans

The newest kids on the block, both Macarthur and the Gold Coast have potentially struggled to fully get a grip on their market. Since their inception they have pinched some of the best players from rival clubs, signing them on big-money deals.

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Look at the likes of David Fifita and Ulises Davilla, both were brought over to take the side deep in the competition. Neither team have been able to make the grand final yet despite throwing the cash around, with 2022 not looking like their year either.

Melbourne Victory – Melbourne Storm

Two franchises with success ingrained in their DNA, the Victory and Storm are a clear comparison with both clubs already sharing many fans. The two teams both play out of AAMI Park and know the difficulties competing with the AFL, overcoming this to become staples of the Victorian sporting landscape.

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Whilst the Victory collected the wooden spoon last season, they seem a team reborn this campaign, with both sides being the teams you hate to play as opposition fans.

Wellington Phoenix – New Zealand Warriors

I didn’t want to just partner up teams with their location but the case for the Warriors and Phoenix is just too compelling. Two teams vying for coverage in a rugby union-based market, they have never quite been able to hit the heights that many had hoped for them.

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Despite playing some enjoyable football to watch, their lack of consistency has ultimately held them back, with neither side winning a title. Both teams have also spent the last few years away from home, and will be in for a big homecoming over the next few months.

Sydney FC – Sydney Roosters

There truly are so many parallels between the pair that I couldn’t not have them together. Both sides have seen some serious success recently, including winning back-to-back titles.

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They have enjoyed some of the best players in the country putting on their jersey, known a bit as the bling club of their respective competitions. With the Sydney Football Stadium finishing construction soon they will also share a home.

Western Sydney Wanderers – North Queensland Cowboys

They may be 2000 kilometres apart on a map, but their similarities are surprising. Both clubs had new stadiums built for them recently, with expectations high of the back of success in the mid 2010’s.

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Unfortunately, by the time the stadiums were complete those glory days were behind them, struggling to make finals of recent years. Both teams also have extremely passionate fans, who want nothing more than success on the field.

Perth Glory – Parramatta Eels

Two teams who had success in the previous iterations of the competitions (NSL and NSWRFL), however have never been able to win a recent title. The pair have gone close, making multiple grand finals, however, when it came to the big moments, they couldn’t quite get it done.

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Whilst Perth are struggling right now, Parramatta are a chance of finally winning a title. Who knows, maybe both sides could finally break the drought soon.

Feature Image Credit: Ngau Kai Yan

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William Makepeace
William Makepeace
Current Intern covering Canberra United. Sports Media student at University of Canberra who lives and breathes Football

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