Sport

NRL ball dropped as rivals swoop

Steve Johnson
Steve Johnson Sarah Harvey

IPSWICH could lose its army of thousands of rugby league volunteers if the Brisbane Lions move their training base to Springfield.

That is the warning from Ipswich Jets and Western Corridor NRL bid chairman Steve Johnson in the wake of news that the Lions, in conjunction with AFL, have targeted the Western Corridor as a strategic base to grow the game.

The Australian Rugby League Commission drove a stake into the heart of the Western Corridor NRL bid by putting NRL expansion on hold until at least 2017.

That decision has played into the hands of the AFL who are targeting Ipswich as the next area of growth for their game.

"My biggest fear is that we will lose our army of volunteers that we have in our game," Johnson said.

"The big problem for rugby league is if AFL gets the young players from the age of seven to 13.

"They may then later work out that their body shapes are best suited for rugby league, but it is the parents that will stay behind in Aussie Rules.

"Rita Langer is still going to Norths Juniors (Rugby League Club) cooking chips on Saturday morning 35 years after Allan played there.

"Parents form friendships when they work as volunteers and even if their kids leave, they often stay behind.

"I've seen this happen all the time when kids play.

"If you lose that army of volunteers, you lose the lifeblood of your game that keeps it going.

"It is getting harder and harder to get parents actively involved in sport.

"If you cut the bare minimum in half now, then you are in real trouble.

"Then you don't have enough people to run your competitions."

Ipswich Mayor Paul Pisasale has also criticised the Australian Rugby League Commission's decision, saying that the NRL will be the poorer for the decision to delay expansion.

"The NRL has stuffed it up," he said.

"They made a commitment to expand. We put a lot of work into it and now they are saying that they can't expand because of the TV rights.

"Give me a break. They might be going on hold for four years but the rest of the codes are not going to go on hold.

"The NRL have made a terrible mistake because the other codes are going to zoom past them in terms of basing themselves out here and getting support in the western corridor."

Johnson said he was confident that even if the Lions based themselves at Springfield, a future Western Corridor NRL side could share training facilities as is the case in Melbourne with league and other codes.

"It works fine in Melbourne with the Demons, Storm and the A-League all sharing the same facility at AAMI Park," he said.

"That central training facility can easily be shared and the ground they are looking at in Springfield has room for a couple of ovals on it."

Topics:  brisbane lions, ipswich jets, springfield, western corridor nrl




LETTER: More trains for Springfield line

BUSY: Springfield Central Station continues to attract more and more passengers.

A new train service will be added to the timetable.

Market report: Cauliflower the star performer

cauliflower

Good quality cauliflower is the pick at the market this week.

Ordinary Ipswich woman doing an 'extraordinary' job

SUPPORT: Glenn McGrath breast care nurse Karen Miles (wearing pink) is being filmed by the crew from Versus Media for an educational production. She is pictured with oncology patient Rachael Reihana of Yamanto.

Thousands of women call Karen Miles a friend.

Latest deals and offers

Drowning Pool gig review at Max Watt's

Drowning Pool played Brisbane with A Breach of Silence and She Cries Wolf at the Max Watt's House of Music.

Drowning Pool prove that 'bodies' hit the floor when they play

#SaveMarinaJoyce: How ISIS theory took over youtube channel

One young Youtuber accidentally gave rise to a conspiracy theory

Talking whiskey with Jack Daniel’s master distiller

It all comes down to the distillery

10 things to do this weekend

Luke Heggie is appearing at the Ipswich Civic Centre as part of the 2016 Sydney Comedy Festival Showcase

Looking for something to do in Ipswich this weekend?

SIXTY MILES AHEAD sign with Eclipse Records, prepare new album 'Insanity'

Sixty Miles Ahead sign with Eclipse. Photo Contributed

Sixty Miles Ahead to release new album on Eclipse

Thy Art Is Murder are killing it

See Thy Art is Murder on their killer tour happening right now. Photo Contributed

We talk with Thy Art is Murder about touring, babies, and new music

Queensland's $1 town goes under the hammer today

The township of Yelarbon is up for sale.

Unprecedented auction of town's business centre with no reserve

Australia Post to open at Orion

Australia Post.

Service to open to customers in late August

Town with 'unique country flair' will be ruined: resident

Jonathan Emms of Rosewood is concerned about a proposed townhouse development for this John Street block of land.

Residents concerned by high density development proposal

Work starts on $15M Caloundra apartment building

Turning the first sod at the Aqua View Apartments site in Kings Beach are (from left) husband-and-wife developers Alex Yuan and Stella Sun with construction company Tomkins director Mike Tomkins and Councillor Tim Dwyer.

Developers excited about addition to Kings Beach skyline

72-year-old Coast developer set to start new project

GREEN LIGHT: The Cosmopolitan has been approved for development at Cotton Tree.

Meet the Canberran set to deliver another chapter for Coast suburb