But when Gallop left the NRL in 2012, the consortium was left all dressed up with nowhere to go. The extraordinary amount of money, time and effort put into the bid was for nothing.
“We never got to present that bid when [Gallop] moved on,” Cumins told The Sydney Morning Herald in Perth.
“We were still led to believe by [former ARLC chairman] Peter Beattie and others that the code would expand one day. I spent a couple of hours with a committee giving my point of view, explaining why it would be a successful move out here and why the way the [Western] Reds failed and that wouldn’t happen again.”
When it comes to expansion broadcasters favour a second Brisbane team over one based in Perth but when V’landys explained why that was the case late last year, it didn’t go down well in the nation’s west.
“That fired a lot of people up,” Cumins said. “Mainly because the reasons that were outlined don’t stack up. Talking about travel costs – the national code [AFL] has teams that travel to and from here every week.
“Talking about WA being a rusted on state – the most successful NRL club of the last 20 years is the Melbourne Storm. Victoria is about as rusted on an AFL state as you could get.
“It’s about getting the structure right, the funding right, the management right and having been involved with the Reds all those years ago … when players come here they love the place.
“It’s not about location, in my view. All the work we did on that bid a few years ago is still there and we are keen to revisit it and put a formal bid to the ARL Commission.”
Cumins doesn’t want to see the demise of a Sydney club. He would prefer to be one of two teams that form part of an expansion to 18 clubs.
“We’re hopeful they’ll look to put two teams in and we’ll be part of that,” he said.
“I know we have the support here and we have the quality of players as well. I don’t want to see a Sydney club’s demise.”
Both Cumins and NRL WA chair John Sackson pointed to the full backing of the WA government and the availability of HBF Stadium as reasons why a new team would be more successful than the Reds, who entered a 20-team competition in 1995 but were axed after the Super League season of 1997.
“There is no question that the financial modelling of the Western Reds was flawed,” Sackson said.
“There’s an argument that arises quite often that the Western Reds failed, so rugby league will fail in the west.
“What people have to understand is there are a number of reasons why the Reds eventually folded here.
“Firstly, it was an unsustainable business model. There were the inflated player payments during the time of the Super League civil war versus the establishment. That put player payments through the roof.
“The Western Reds had to pay for the incoming teams, coming into Perth – they had to pay for flights and accommodation for teams and then they had to fly them home.
“We had to field a reserve grade team and fly them out here and home. That added up. It was an extraordinary cost.”
Sam is a sports reporter for The Sydney Morning Herald.