Ipswich NRL consultant Brian Canavan is thrilled another consortium has popped up.
Ipswich NRL consultant Brian Canavan is thrilled another consortium has popped up. Sarah Harvey

Game on as Brisbane launches bid

IPSWICH'S NRL bid team is prepared for a winner-takes-all battle with the newly announced Brisbane-based NRL bid and has fired the first shot, questioning the “money making” motivation of the rival consortium.

Furniture tycoon and former Thoroughbreds chairman Craig Davison heads the Brisbane NRL bid.

The Thoroughbreds are a group of successful businessmen who provide support to the Broncos. Mr Davison is well connected in the league and corporate world.

But Ipswich's NRL bid mastermind Steve Johnson said his bid would grow the game of rugby league, while Mr Davison's bid would be primarily concerned with making a profit for its high-flying corporates.

The Central Queensland bid is another major contender for admission, but with the emer- gence of the new Brisbane bid the battle for the next team in Queens- land is now well and truly on.

“It definitely is,” Mr Johnson said.

“But we can't control what the Brisbane bid are doing. There were always going to be other bids coming out of Brisbane and I know of another one that is secretly in the pipeline as well.

“We are very happy with the model and structure that we are implementing, which is by rugby league people for the game rather than business people for themselves.

Their motivation is about making money out of the game and ours is about developing the game with a club that is owned by the community.

“By adding a second team in Brisbane, are you expanding the game and are you creating any more television interest in the game? I would think not.

“We are focused on our backyard which is a corridor in the fastest-growing region in Australia and where the game needs to be if it is going to truly expand.”

A decision on new NRL clubs is expected to be made within six months when the Independent Commission is tipped to admit two new clubs for the 2013 season.

Mr Davison will meet with NRL boss David Gallop in the coming week and has quashed suggest- ions that his bid is too late to make an impact.

“We are late compared to the other bids, but the Independent Commission hasn't been formed yet, so I think we are right on time. If anything, the others have gone early,” Mr Davison said.

Mr Davison said the new bid team would likely be based in south Brisbane.

Ipswich's NRL bid consultant Brian Canavan said he was “overjoyed” that the Brisbane NRL bid team had been formed.

“The fact there are two bids will prove to David Gallop how much the people of south-east Queens- land want another team,” Mr Canavan said.

“The demand is so strong in this region for rugby league, but our bid is more advanced.

“We have a feasibility study and a five-year business plan nearly completed and several corporate sponsors on board.”

Mr Canavan, a veteran NRL administrator who was once the Sydney Roosters chief executive, said the corporate backers would be named within the next three weeks once his business plan and feasibility study were completed.

The QT understands that Channel Nine wants to see a game at Suncorp Stadium each round to maximise Friday night ratings.

“We are in advanced negotiations with Suncorp Stadium and they want us to use their facilities,” Mr Canavan said.

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