Queensland NRL fans have much to look forward to with the bid for a new team in a strong position following Sunday’s historic all-Queensland grand final between the Brisbane Broncos and North Queensland Cowboys.
Following the qualifying final between the Broncos and the Cowboys earlier in the season, ARL Chairman John Grant publicly supported a new Brisbane based club.
Brisbane Bombers CEO Nicholas Livermore said that Queensland’s strong development pathways put the state’s bid for a new team at an advantage to others from around Australia and New Zealand.
“When you have a look at the talent pool that’s coming through, I think as a whole Queensland’s in a really strong position,” Mr Livermore said.
“In the weekend’s grand final, out of 34 players, 28 of them have come through our second tier competition in the Intrust Super Cup, so that speaks volumes in terms of what a strong position the NRL is in thanks to Queensland production wise.”
Mr Livermore recognises that apprehension exists about a second team, following the collapse of the South Queensland Crushers in 1997.
“We’ve looked at the mistakes of the past to ensure those mistakes aren’t repeated and that’s the most important thing for the NRL if they were to have another team, they would want that confidence that those mistakes wouldn’t be repeated.”
The Bombers have made it their mission to prove that the Brisbane sport market is able to sustain two NRL franchises.
“We wanted to highlight at the start of last year that there was a demand, so we brought the Melbourne Storm and Canterbury Bankstown Bulldogs to Brisbane and ran a match in February,” Mr Livermore said.
“We’ve put it to the test and shown that there’s definitely the support there – an appetite for rugby league.”
CQ NRL Bid Finance Manager Dominique McGregor strongly believes the CQ area is still the best option for an expansion team and said the push for a new Brisbane team only holds precedence in South East Queensland media circles.
“The NRL and the Independent Commission have always told us to keep doing what we are doing and that is working within our community and developing the game of rugby league from the grassroots,” Ms McGregor said.
Grand final stars Matt Scott, Ben Hunt, Corey Oates and Jake Granville all hail from CQ and Ms McGregor said the introduction of a local team gives these established players the opportunity to play close to home and further aid talent development in the area.
“Not only is Central Queensland the heartland of rugby league fans, it also a nursery for many great players and it’s because of this, the Bid has always promised that if successful we would ensure 75% of our players would be locally born and bred,” she said.
“You can be guaranteed there will be a great supporter base and a stadium that will fill week in and week out during the NRL season.”
“The Central Queensland community is much like Townsville’s was before the Cowboys entered the NRL competition so a team will do immense amounts for the community… Not only financially but a great moral booster to unite everyone in this region.”
The Brisbane Bombers and CQ NRL Bid have accumulated healthy supporter groups through Facebook and online memberships.