Time for another Queensland regional team in the NRL
WE HAVE recently seen the Western Corridor (Ipswich) bid receive more than its fair share of publicity regarding entry into the National Rugby League competition.
Any casual observer knows the south-east corner already has two NRL teams; the Brisbane Broncos and the Gold Coast Titans.
The Broncos are doing extremely well as a brand and attract commendable crowds.
The Titans have gone into liquidation, have trouble attracting crowds and are cellar dwellers in the NRL.
It's time to acknowledge the south-east corner has its quota of teams and move on.
Research commissioned by the CQ NRL bid, and provided to the NRL as part of our pitch, clearly identified the Queensland rugby league community favoured a regional team to complement the existing NRL structure, not another south-east corner team.
And Channel 9 statistics show the most watched games are those played by the Cowboys, the only regional Queensland team.
As is not uncommon in all aspects of our great state, there seems to be a view by administrators that Queensland is only comprised of Brisbane and the south-east corner.
Of course this is not the case and there is a huge number of Queensland fans waiting to be able to support an NRL team which truly represents them.
Opposition to our bid has been expressed by the Cowboys, with them stating Central Queensland is part of their footprint and that if there is a team in CQ it would damage their brand.
Yet after winning the grand final this year the Cowboys did not take the trophy any further south than Mackay, declaring Rockhampton and surrounds are not a part of their footprint!
The trophy did travel to the area but the Cowboys' administrators didn't see fit to send any players with it.
Not even Jake Granville, who is of course a proud Rockhampton product.
The Western Corridor bid recently published a list of NRL players who have hailed from the area.
We considered doing the same but readers of this column would be aware that we have done a similar exercise a number of times in the past and that a list of current and past NRL, State of Origin and Kangaroo players who were nurtured in CQ would take up the whole page.
Suffice to say that we are, and always have been, the heartland of rugby league in Queensland.
Last year we hosted NRL CEO Dave Smith in Central Queensland for a few days with a view to him getting a feel for the region. He has now left the job.
Over the past five years we have been encouraged by comments made by David Gyngell to us in conversations. He is no longer at Channel 9.
Our hope is that these executives are replaced soon with people who have a good understanding of rugby league in the regions and are prepared to make a decision sooner rather than later.
Keep the dream alive!