Battle for NRL’s next Queensland team wagers on

With neither bid giving an inch to the other, both the Central Queensland bids and the Ipswich bids for the NRL, have been involved in a dog-fight as they argue why their bid should reign supreme over the other.

In what is sure to produce a lot of debate about pros and cons, and how their future induction will affect the NRL, there are some factors going heavily against both bids, but also factors going in their favour.

For the Ipswich bid, they have a rapidly expanding economy and population, they can share Suncorp Stadium with the Broncos and they have the foundations in place already with an Ipswich team in the QLD Cup.

On the negative side however, they will more than likely play second fiddle to a stronger and more recognised Broncos side, they could eat into the Gold Coast Titans reserves and juniors being so close to the area, and they lack any corporate backing, or big financial push.

In the case of the Central Queensland bid, they have massive financial support with the backing of the gas and mining industries in the area, the area is situated in the centre of the Brisbane area and the North Queensland area, and Geoff Murphy, construction tycoon heavily favours the Central Queensland bid.

They too have negatives however given that they will have to invest heavily in a brand new stadium given they don’t have an official stadium to play in, their population is also a concern, only having a third of the population of Ipswich and the Cowboys could be in danger if their fans decide to switch teams and support the Central Queensland team.

With a concrete decision unlikely to be made until midway through 2011, as the pressure mounts on the NRL to include another Queensland team in the NRL competition.

”It’s hard for us to judge where we’re at, but we’re confident we are making a compelling argument to be the best place in Queensland for expansion and hopefully the best place overall,” says CQ bid chief executive Denis Keeffe, who impressed News Limited executives with his managerial skill as the former CEO of the Cowboys.

”Naturally we’re biased, so I’ll let the independent commentators make a call on where we rate. But I don’t see too many deficiencies in  our bid.”

Since they first launched their bid 18 months ago, Central Queensland have hit the ground running, recruiting construction tycoon Geoff Murphy into their corner as well as 20,000 people signing a petition for the team to be in the NRL, and Queensland Premier Anna Bligh pledging $150 million for a new stadium in the area.

With Murphy in their corner, the Central Queensland bid is gaining stature. Murphy even went as far to personally fly NRL Chief Executive David Gallop to the area for a 2-day tour of their bid and the region.

‘We are going to convince you,” says Murphy. ”We have to show David Gallop what we can do for the NRL.
We tick all the boxes.

”We’ve got the population, the passion, we have no other national sporting teams in CQ, we basically shore up the east coast (of Australia).

”I’m very confident of getting an NRL licence and always have been.”

Ipswich are also confident however. Steve Johnson, the Ipswich bid chief and according to him, the NRL needs a Queensland team situated in and out of Ipswich.

”We could start a rugby league club tomorrow,” Johnson says. ”We haven’t got the players of course, but we have the infrastructure at the Ipswich Jets (Queensland Cup club), it would just be an expansion of that.

”I’m not going to be disrespectful to CQ, they are passionate league people and that’s what the game is built around.”

The Ipswich bid have also gone all guns blazing recruiting former Roosters CEO Brian Canavan as a consultant, and an adviser as the best way to approach the bid.

NRL Chief Executive David Gallop only two years ago, flagged Ipswich as a viable area for expansion in the future.

He is also impressed by the pulling power and the financial backing of the Central Queensland bid, with their billion dollar resource industry.

”One of the things I like about this area is that it doesn’t have a national team in any other code,” he says.

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