Sport

NRL CEO coming to Rockhampton to check CQ's form

Rob Wright

CEO Denis Keeffe hopes to have a clearer picture of how the CQ NRL Bid is tracking when the National Rugby League boss visits Rockhampton for two days.

NRL chief executive Dave Smith will be in Rockhampton on September 15-16.

Mr Keeffe said it was an ideal opportunity to impress upon Mr Smith the strategic importance of Central Queensland and show him the work the bid team was doing at the grass roots level of the game.

"We aren't expecting some great earth-shattering announcement," he said yesterday.

"What we would really like is some timeline on the decision-making process.

"In my own heart, I know it will happen here but the big unknown is when. That is what we are keen to find out."

Mr Keeffe believes the work being done to develop rugby league in the region sets the CQ NRL Bid apart from the other contenders.

"As a bid, we are doing things with rugby league that the other bid centres aren't," he said.

"We are not just sitting back saying 'pick me, pick me'. We are out there working and have introduced four or five different programs, including elite development, indigenous and school-based programs, which really make us quite different from the other bidding cities."

PULLING POWER: An artist’s impression of the 1000-seat convention centre and 20, 000-seat stadium for Rockhampton. The construction could create 1000 full time jobs.
PULLING POWER: An artist’s impression of the 1000-seat convention centre and 20, 000-seat stadium for Rockhampton. The construction could create 1000 full time jobs. Contributed

Mr Keeffe said Mr Smith would be able to see the success of the programs first-hand during his visit.

He also expects Mr Smith will give some indication on whether the NRL plans to go to a ninth game option (expanding the competition by two teams) or will rationalise its existing position.

"He had said to us in Sydney not long ago that it was not simply a matter of selecting two regions or cities. It is much more detailed than that," Mr Keeffe said.

"I expect there are four or five different options on the table and we expect them to make those decisions in-house in due course."

Mr Keeffe wants to ensure Mr Smith leaves Rockhampton with a good impression.

"This whole process is an absolute game-changer as far as the city and the region are concerned. It's all about the commitment and I am sure that Dave Smith and the NRL will see we are totally committed."

BID MILESTONES

March 2009: CQ NRL Bid launched

January 2010: Denis Keeffe starts as CQ NRL Bid CEO

February 2010: 10,000 petition members

April, 2010: Kevin Rudd signs the petition

September 2010: Written commitment from Premier Anna Bligh to build a stadium

December 2010: 20,000 petition members

March 2011: Junior development program announced

April 2011: Schools and scholarship programs launched

May 2011: 30,000 petition members

September 2014: More than 40,000 bid members

Topics:  cq nrl bid dave smith denis keeffe nrl