Jets NRL bid gains momentum

IPSWICH Jets' NRL bid mastermind Steve Johnson has held meetings with NRL chief executive David Gallop and Ipswich Mayor Paul Pisasale to elicit support for a western corridor NRL club.

The meetings were held just before Queensland Premier Anna Bligh announced her Government would build a stadium in Rockhampton if the Jets' main rival, Central Queensland, was awarded an NRL licence in 2013.

Ms Bligh wrote a letter to Central Queensland NRL bid chief executive Denis Keeffe outlining the State Government's commitment to building a $150 million stadium in Rockhampton if the CQ consortium received an NRL license.

But Mr Johnson said the announcement was of minor consequence, and while Central Queensland was ahead in its planning, it was not the front- runner.

“They have to build everything; we already have it,” Mr Johnson said.

“We are having positive negotiations with Suncorp Stadium. That stadium is already built.

“We already have a successfully run club in the Ipswich Jets and the NRL club would be an extension of that.

“It's fantasy versus reality, and our bid has the reality.”

Queensland company Populous will reportedly design the 20,000-seat Rockhampton stadium, which would be a virtual replica of Skilled Park on the Gold Coast.

Mr Johnson said Mr Gallop gave nothing away during their meeting, held a week ago, which was also attended by Jets' bid consultant Brian Canavan.

“He should go on the World Series of Poker, because he gives you very little,” Mr Johnson said of Mr Gallop.

“We told him about the progress we were making and let him know there is a lot of work being done behind the scenes.

“The best thing we have on our side is the numbers. We have a much larger population than Central Queensland and it's contained in a smaller area with greater growth predicted.”

The feasibility study and business report into the Jets' bid would be finished and presented to Mr Gallop at the end of January.

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