PROMOTING expansion or supporting the existing grassroots?

It seems that this is the one question that constantly sends the game up a cul-de-sac and never really gets resolved to anyone’s satisfaction.

The argument raged again this week when it was announced that Toronto would forfeit their home game against Toulouse and play it as a curtain raiser at Magic.

You would have thought this game should be seen a positive – the punters get to see an extra game involving the team that seems on a headlong mission to Super League.

It will also, in a quirky way, bring in more publicity than sadly one more domestic fixture would not do.

However, that is not how it has played out across towns across the heartlands.

And just like when London Broncos and Paris St Germain leap-frogged Keighley to get into the inaugural Super League, or when Catalans’ elevation to the top flight and subsequent protection from relegation, there is a cry of preferential treatment.

The Magic selection is an interesting one - not least because Bradford Bulls had already been allowed to peep through the cracks of St James Park that weekend with their Championship 1 fixture at Newcastle.

If they wanted to sell more tickets and maybe boost rugby league in the north east (and I assume that was one of the early points of Magic) then putting that clash on would have killed two birds with one stone.

If handled well the Toronto experiment has the potential to bring something different to our game that is crying out for innovation.

But we still need a strategy to monetise their presence (and Catalans’ for that matter) rather than it being just another novelty outpost.

Not only that, those clubs need to grow the game and develop talent on their own patches not simply trawl the world — and the northern heartlands in particular — for off the peg talent.

Rugby league cannot afford to have too many teams — and I don’t mean just outpost organisations – creaming off talent without doing anything to top up the playing well.

If the game eventually withers in traditional heartlands — because their pro teams have been sidelined — then where are those players going to come from?

You can see why fans of say Halifax, Leigh, Featherstone and Batley can be irked by Toronto.

But the potential problem for the game is more long-term than simply a few noses being put out of joint.