The North Sydney Bears faithful buoyed by recent talk about their team's possible return to the NRL have an ally in a former Canberra Raiders star.
Sean Rutgerson played 12 games for the Bears between 1998-1999, before the club fell out of the NRL and he joined Canberra, where the forward added 56 first-grade appearances to his name over four seasons.
His first try actually came in Canberra's iconic snow game against Wests Tigers back in 2000.
Now the head coach of the USA rugby league team in between coaching the Jacksonville Axemen in Florida, Rutgerson has been closely following the news back home of the Bears' possible resurrection.
The discussion has been revived by Australian Rugby League Commission chairman Peter V'landys telling News Corp this week that bringing the Bears back "makes sense" because of the club's strong supporter base, despite the highest level they currently compete at being reserve-grade, NSW Cup.
Even though V'Landys didn't want the Bears as a team solely based in Sydney, with too many sides in the Harbour City already, North Sydney fans are feeling enthusiastic about a comeback after the intriguing endorsement from the chairman.
Rutgerson's time at the Bears ended abruptly when the club was cut from the NRL and merged with Manly to become the short-lived Northern Eagles, but the former Raider believes that North Sydney is worth considering for rugby league's 18th franchise in the competition.
"When I left I had two years left on a three-year contract and got bent over. It wasn't the best, that's just the way it goes. But hopefully the Bears come back in," Rutgerson told The Canberra Times.
"If they got it on the Central Coast I think that'd be a good spot.
"There's plenty of juniors and it could work. I don't know what the plan is, but I hope they get back in. Why not?
"I think there's enough room for it.
"I'm sure the NRL has got plenty of cash to support more teams coming in. As long as it's not too watered down, it's a good thing for the game, so bring it on."
It's no surprise Rutgerson supports V'Landys' big ideas amid the NRL's upcoming adventure to Las Vegas in round one in a few weeks.
The historic trip is set to bring more attention to rugby league in the States, and Rutgerson has benefitted, with his USA team to play Canada in a rare Test on the eve of the NRL season-opening double-header.
Rutgerson still follows as much NRL as he can from abroad, and hopes to run into a few old mates when rugby league descends on Vegas, even if the Raiders or Bears aren't in the first edition of the US promotion.
AT A GLANCE
Test match: USA v Canada, March 1 at Ed W. Clark High School in Las Vegas.