Murphy: Rocky stadium is 'critical'
GEOFF Murphy will fight into golden point for a NRL compliant stadium in Rockhampton.
The JM Kelly developer and CQ NRL Bid chairman renewed his call to build an entirely new venue as the Sunshine Coast announced a $2.4 million upgrade to their stadium, funded in part by the State Government ($480,000) and the remainder from Sunshine Coast Council.
Mr Murphy encouraged the Coast development, but said it once again proved Central Queensland was the "forgotten area” and feared the "rugby league heart- land” would be knocked back a few rungs in its bid for an NRL team.
Mr Murphy explained discussions with NRL officials indicated they had delayed any decision to establish new teams, but when the time came to expand CQ would need a compliant stadium to be in the running.
"I just think it's absolutely critical because we are the heartland of rugby league, that's our main sport, more so than any of the other areas I've talked about, and all others have superior facilities,” Mr Murphy said of CQ compared to Cairns, Townsville, Mackay, Toowoomba and now the Sunshine Coast.
"Ours are very, very ordinary and I think it's critical if we want to be an NRL or rugby league heartland then our supporters deserve something better than what we are offering now.”
Mr Murphy said "at a stretch”, Browne Park could accommodate 7000 people, of those, 2500 were seated.
Mr Murphy was vocal in his bid for a stadium during the Federal Election, after Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull committed $100 million to a second Townsville stadium if the Coalition was successfully re-elected.
"We are getting left behind, it's (upgrading stadiums) happening everywhere else in the state; unfortunately it's our own fault as we do not yell and scream enough and everyone else does,” he said.
Mr Murphy said his great passion for the sport aside, an NRL stadium was the region's future.
"I have a love for keeping our young population in Rockhampton, I don't think we can expect our young people to stay and live and work in our area if we don't offer the reasonable facilities they can get elsewhere,” he said.
"To have a good young viable community in Central Queensland we need to provide the extras such as NRL games, even if they are rare, at a proper and good stadium otherwise we can't expect to keep our young people here to develop our region.
"I am going to keep pushing, I am not prepared to give up just yet, I have a few years left in me.”
Mr Murphy encouraged the community to get behind the bid and vowed to rally all three levels of government until successful.