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Should the NRL entertain another Nathan Tinkler?

IN 1995, when the breakaway Super League was launched in Australia, chief executive John Ribot was ridiculed for his declaration that the competition would mushroom and go to the rest of the world.

That did not happen, even though the game in England is now played under the Super League banner.

In fact, in the intervening 20 years the tentacles of rugby league have barely spread much further.

For that reason when I read that a Palestinian-born refugee with a reported wealth of $A3 billion wants to buy the Gold Coast Titans and play some home games in Las Vegas and Dubai, I smirked.

Marwan Koukash is no doubt resilient.

As an eight-year-old, with his mum and his seven siblings, he walked for three days without food until he reached the River Jordan.

He then spent three years in a refugee camp.

But he and success were to become well acquainted.

As an electrical engineer he amassed much of his fortune through a corporate training company called EuroMaTech.

This wealth has enabled him to invest in his two sporting loves, horse racing and rugby league.

Two years ago be bought the Salford Reds who are sitting sixth in the 12-team Super League competition.

Now - if the newspaper report is correct - he wants to purchase a major shareholding in the Titans.

And word is the NRL is not about to throw cold water on his plans.

My question is why?

Why, after the mess another self-made millionaire, Nathan Tinkler, left at Newcastle, would the NRL even contemplate allowing another philanthropist and headline grabber to take control of one of our clubs?

Conversely, why would Koukash (pictured) want to buy into the Titans?

Surely he has already carried out some due diligence and understands that since the Gold Coast Giants were born in 1988, the Seagulls, Gladiators, Chargers and Titans have followed with scarcely a premiership whimper.

Initially he was sniffing around the Broncos, but when told News Limited was not interested in relinquishing its major shareholding, his attention shifted to the Titans.

And he wanted them to move to Brisbane.

But when told that wouldn't happen, he is now talking about taking home games to New Zealand, Dubai and Las Vegas.

His reasoning is that the Titans need to grow their brand. What the Titans need to grow is solidarity and security.

Three or four successive seasons finishing in the top eight and stabilising a home crowd of around 20,000 would be a great elixir for the turmoil that has existed on the Gold Coast almost since day one 27 years ago.

Koukash has eight kids - maybe he should spare the Titans and share his $3 billion with them.



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