Sport

Western Corridor bid still strong

Western Corridor bid chairman Steve Johnson
Western Corridor bid chairman Steve Johnson Sarah Harvey

THE Western Corridor NRL bid's prospects will not be compromised despite the shock resignation of Australian Rugby League Commission chief executive David Gallop.

Gallop was a big supporter of the Western Corridor NRL bid throughout his tenure. He once took a tour of Ipswich with Mayor Paul Pisasale and then commented publicly that the region was ideal for an NRL side.

He also made various other media statements that suggested he favoured the bid as a prime contender to get one of the likely two NRL franchises should the game expand.

Western Corridor bid chairman Steve Johnson also had a good relationship with Gallop. The pair exchanged emails about the bid and Gallop would on occasion tell Johnson the bid was on the right track.

But Johnson told the QT that Gallop's exit would not have a negative impact on the bid's chances of success.

"The fate of the bid was never going to rest in the hands of one man," Johnson said.

"David was obviously going to have a big influence given his standing as the CEO of the game. But as I understand it, if there was going to be an expansion of the game there was going to be a review committee established, of which David would have been part. There would have been a review and a recommendation back to the ARLC. The final arbiters of that decision are still in place, which is the commission led by John Grant."

Johnson said the major assets of the bid remained in place and they would be just as appealing to the commission as to Gallop.

"David was a fan of our model and our approach because it appealed to his shared vision of rugby league clubs," Johnson said.

"John Grant has an even greater whole-game vision than David even had. We believe that our bid mirrors his vision too.

"We are looking to whole pathways for players, not just rugby league pathways. They are the educational and vocational pathways that are parallel to a player's development.

"David was passionate about an exit strategy for players out of the game. If you educate them better on the way in, then they are going to make better decisions throughout their careers and they are more likely to make better informed decisions when they leave the game to set themselves up for their lives."

Topics:  david gallop, paul pisasale, steve johnson, western corridor nrl



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