Ipswich is the ideal place to put an NRL side: NSW legend
SUPPORT for the western corridor NRL bid has come from an unlikely source with NSW legend Ben Elias insisting "Ipswich is the ideal place to put an NRL side".
Elias, who is also backing an NRL bid in Perth, said he often travelled to the western corridor on business.
He was stunned to discover that the Brisbane Lions were about to base their $60 million-plus administration and training facility in Springfield.
"Wow," Elias said when The Queensland Times told him the news.
"Ipswich and that whole western corridor region is just like the western suburbs of Sydney. They are the two strength areas of rugby league and now the AFL is investing a lot of money in it.
"Geographically and demographically, Ipswich is a hot favourite for an NRL team.
"But I don't know what the NRL are waiting for. If they leave it too long people lose the excitement for it.
"If you think that the AFL doesn't see us as their major opposition in business, then you are kidding. They are in our face with GWS in Sydney and now they are going to the heartland of rugby league in Queensland.
"It is like Telstra and Optus.... and Woolworths and Coles. They attack each other's territory as aggressively as possible."
The Lions have admitted that their move to Springfield has a strategic aspect to it. But Elias said it went further than that.
"They don't want to say the word 'war' but this is big business…a $1 billion business," he said.
"The guys at the (ARL) Commission are all qualified in their own right, but they are there to take on this animal that is the AFL. The AFL is an animal that is aggressive and patient…and with deep pockets.
"In politics we are seeing two parties throwing the kitchen sink at their marginal seats. We should do a study and be investing in those areas that are marginal due to threats from other sports.
"At the moment it is AFL one, us nil," he said.