NRL bid rival unfazed by Brisbane threat
NRL bid rival unfazed by Brisbane threat.
Ipswich-based Western Corridor bid's boss has dismissed reports of cashed up businessmen backing a second Brisbane NRL team as waffle, saying it does not help the cause of Queensland's legitimate franchise contenders.
Western Corridor chairman Steve Johnson was confident their bid and rival Redcliffe were the front-runners to become the fourth NRL team in Queensland despite momentum building for a second Brisbane-based outfit.
The code's free to air broadcaster Nine Network are reportedly pushing for a new Brisbane team to rival the Broncos to be introduced in time for the next TV deal which will begin in 2023, with one of Sydney's nine clubs either cut or relocating to Queensland.
NRL CEO Todd Greenberg is currently compiling a report on the code with a view to identifying expansion zones in December.
Keen to capitalise on Nine director of sport Tom Malone's push for a second Brisbane team, five Queensland businessmen worth more than $50 million are reportedly looking to back a bid.
News Corp on Thursday said the anonymous businessmen were keen to either form their own bid or join forces with a rival Brisbane Bombers consortium who along with the Western Corridor and Central Queensland have been fighting for an NRL licence for almost 10 years.
But Johnson was unfazed.
"It's a story about nothing," he told AAP.
"It is referencing a former member of the Bombers bid saying he has been approached by five anonymous people but there is nothing concrete there - it is a bit of waffle.
"I think those sort of stories don't help expansion at all."
Johnson - who is also Queensland Cup's Ipswich Jets chairman - accused the Bombers of trying to stay relevant.
"Years ago the NRL told legitimate bids that expansion has been put on hold and you need to go back and work inside the game of rugby league which was easy enough for ourselves because we had an existing rugby league organisation (Jets)," he said.
"But for the Bombers at the time it was virtually their death knell because they had no connection to rugby league other than a desire to own a team and make money out of rugby league.
"Now here we are four years later and they are trying to be relevant with smoke and mirrors.
"At the moment the legitimate contenders are going to be Redcliffe and the Western Corridor because we are already involved in rugby league."
Johnson was encouraged by the expansion talk but had not heard from Greenberg.
"There has been no approach from the NRL. I think Todd is making enquiries into a business case about expansion," Johnson said.
"He has had conversations driven by Tom Malone's ultimatum.
"Our game is unfortunately again being reactionary rather than having a clear strategy and direction.
"Are we going to expand? I don't know. We have had these conversations ongoing now for nearly 10 years."
But Johnson hoped the league addressed Queensland's lack of representation in the NRL by adding the Western Corridor.
"Look at the NRL excluding Victoria and New Zealand. There are 14 teams and Queensland have three," he said.
"We need a pathway for kids in Queensland. At present it isn't there."
© AAP 2019