NRL diehards favour North Ipswich
IPSWICH Jets chief executive officer Brad Wolens is adamant that local league fans want any new NRL team in the western corridor to base its headquarters at North Ipswich Reserve and not Springfield.
If Ipswich was able to win a licence to enter the competition in 2013, the team would play out of Suncorp Stadium, while bid consultant Brian Canavan has proposed a Springfield training and administration base for the new franchise.
Mr Wolens has been overwhelmed by the positive feedback the Ipswich NRL bid has received among league diehards and grassroots fans, but he says an “anti-Springfield feeling” is also prevalent.
“I have spoken to a number of people involved in clubs and one thing all of them have indicated to me is that North Ipswich Reserve is the home of rugby league and the facilities should be based there,” Mr Wolens said.
“They are real traditionalists. They are all supportive of the NRL bid and they want the club to be at North Ipswich. There is definitely an anti-Springfield feeling.
“If funding became available for a stadium, they are still saying they would love to see that at North Ipswich Reserve too.”
Mr Canavan said North Ipswich was still an option to house a training facility, but population shifts in the west Brisbane region must be taken into account.
“It’s the case of tradition verses population shifts. I understand where Brad is coming from and the North Ipswich Reserve has merit,” Mr Canavan said.
“But you need the base to be where new markets are and Springfield will be home to so many new residents it will be hard to ignore the merit of having a presence there.
“There is no question that Ipswich will be the main home of the western corridor NRL bid.
“But we need to capture the developing markets.
“Down the track a decision will have to be made and both Springfield and North Ipswich will be up for consideration.”
The Ipswich NRL bid is in a high stakes battle. The Brisbane NRL Expansion bid team launched last week, while Easts Tigers are preparing a bid to be submitted by the July 2011 deadline.
Meanwhile, Mr Wolens has no doubt that the western corridor of Brisbane has the fans, the juniors and the senior base to support and sustain a new NRL team.