Optimism burns bright for future success in CQ's NRL bid
DESPITE the challenges and setbacks, Geoff Murphy remains determined to secure CQ their own NRL team.
A respected local businessman and Chairman of the CQ NRL bid, Mr Murphy has been part of the furniture in CQ since 1961.
Since he launched CQ's bid to join the NRL over 10 years ago, he has ploughed $3.5 million of his own money and countless hours of his time trying to get the bid over the try line.
With the current chairman ARL commissioner John Grant due to step down from the role next month, the man touted to be his replacement, Peter Beattie, has left the door open for a possible NRL expansion beyond the current 16 teams.
Mr Murphy has a revived sense of confidence about CQ's bid after the former Queensland premier made clear that the competition could grow, most likely in 2022, to coincide with the new broadcast deal.
"Expansion has to be on the table. The game can't be complacent. We have to grow. If we stagnate we die. And that is why I want to see it back on the table. It's time,” Mr Beattie said.
"We need to be strategic about it and think long term.
"There is so much other entertainment and other sports people are interested in. We can't sit on our bums. The quality of the game is great but we've got to ensure it has a future.
"That's why expansion is so important.”
By the time the next TV deal comes around in 2022, Mr Beattie said the NRL would need to have a product that represented an attractive package for the networks.
"Are we going to have another QLD team? Or is it PNG? Is it Perth or country NSW?” he said.
"The new State cups will provide an opportunity for everyone to demonstrate they deserve a place in the NRL. Not just through their on-field performance but the way they run their club and their business.
"I can't wait to see teams like Perth, Fiji, New Zealand, PNG, Country NSW and other cities in action, week after week in State Cup matches. Even Ipswich or Redcliffe. We've got to give them all a signal that we're looking at expansion.”
Mr Beattie said this broadcast cycle would give potential clubs the opportunity to see how serious they were about becoming part of the NRL.
"And, if one or two of them demonstrate they will benefit the NRL, can we look at including them in the next cycle?”
When asked how he felt about the strength of CQ's bid in light of Mr Beattie's comments, Mr Murphy was extremely upbeat and positive.
"With the next TV deal due to come around again in 2022 the CQ NRL did need to be ready to go at any time,” Mr Murphy said.
"Business and strategic plans are constantly updated with CQ's most current data and we will be ready to put our case to the new Commission once it is in place.
"I accept we have a bit of work going forward again but I am very optimistic and I wouldn't have spent the money and time otherwise.”
He said the CQ bid had merit given that the population of the CQ region was slightly bigger than the population of Townsville.
"CQ deserves it, it's rugby league heartland, we have a lot of talent we want to entice back to the area,” Mr Murphy said.
"As promised by both the Labour Party and the LNP when CQ is awarded an NRL license we will get our Convention Centre and Stadium purpose built for the CQ region in accordance with the results from the Federally funded feasibility study carried out by international stadia design company, Populous.
"It's been a long journey but it is now more important than ever for the bid to remain focussed on the prize and for all of CQ to stay positive and keep supporting the bid.”
Mr Murphy, who was currently overseas, indicated a willingness to talk further with Mr Beattie.
"I haven't spoken to him but I certainly will be following these comments up with him once he's in the chair,” he said.