NRL bid group not worried by magazine poll
THE Western Corridor NRL bid is not fazed by a recent Rugby League Week fans' poll that showed it was the least favoured of the three Queensland-based bids.
The poll, responded to by thousands of readers, had the Western Corridor bid with just 2% support with the Brisbane Bombers and Central Queensland on 9%. Perth (45%) and Central Coast (25%) were most favoured.
But Western Corridor bid boss Steve Johnson said the poll was merely "a social media popularity contest, rather than a rugby league study".
"It is not a representation of the rugby league community as a whole. It is just a representation of a closed readership," he said.
"If you polled 700,000 people in the western corridor you would get 700,000 people saying 'yes' to expansion and 'yes' to our bid."
Mr Johnson conceded some of the other bids had a strong social media presence that would have enhanced their results.
"The same people who 'like' you on Facebook, normally aren't the same people who will put their hands in their back pockets for you financially," he said.
"The poll certainly won't influence the thinkers in the game. The ARLC has shown they will approach expansion from a true business perspective with due diligence ... and that will require looking at the existing rugby league base. We've got the best base compared to any of the other potential bids. We stand by our numbers which are the best in rugby league."
The Western Corridor bid had 10,000 juniors in 2011 when they last did their review.
"We have the biggest junior base in rugby league and that has only grown in recent times. The next area was the western suburbs of Sydney which had around 9000," Mr Johnson said.
"We've now got just under 700,000 people living in the corridor and that is not including the southern suburbs of Brisbane. That is a bigger population than already sustains existing clubs.
"We've got a proven supportive rugby league base, very well run local leagues and Intrust Super Cup clubs and the best rugby league stadium in the world. It is very hard to look at our bid and say no to it, if you are looking to expand the game in a rational way that will be cost-neutral to the game."