'We’re ready': Why Ipswich’s NRL bid is superior

DON'T forget about us. "We've always been right to go''.

That's the message from Western Corridor bid chief Steve Johnson as NRL expansion plans ramp up.

While such talk has been going on for years, Johnson said the Western Corridor was demographically superior to host another team in the national competition.

Covering Ipswich, Logan, Toowoomba and western country areas, the Western Corridor bid was launched a decade ago.

While frustrated at the delays due to the new ARL commission and other factors, Johnson said the Western Corridor concept would more than satisfy what the NRL needed to grow the game.

That was particularly the case with a recent focus on Redcliffe and the second Brisbane syndicate pushing their cases to be included.

"Our bid has been with the NRL in full form for seven years,'' Johnson said. "If and when the NRL confirmed that they intend to expand, we need only to update the financials and demographics to modernise them.

"And our statistics have got even better (since the early proposal).

"We have always had the best numbers in rugby league and they have only gotten better with the passing of time and the delay in expansion.

"There's more growth in the Western Corridor than there are players currently in Redcliffe.''

 

 

 

 

Johnson said on 2016 figures, Brisbane had 11,355 registered players and the Western Corridor 15,733.

He said by 2026, Brisbane was projected to 13,054 registered players and the Western Corridor 19,075.

Redcliffe currently has only 2840 registered players with a forecast of 3452 by 2026. And Redcliffe is trying to tag onto North Brisbane, which is a Broncos footprint.

"So by the time you add in Toowoomba - which has got good growth - and Logan, we've got more players coming to our area than Redcliffe currently have,'' the bid chief said.

"Now we've got that rapid growth through Ripley that was delayed for some years.

"We've got the second largest population in Queensland. And the Western Corridor, if you have a look at a demographic map of Queensland, that's your valley. It's not a fake area we've just created.''Johnson said other rapidly growing areas around Flagstone, Spring Mountain and Greenbank were also vital for the future.

"It all connects,'' he said.

 

Steve Johnson
Steve Johnson

Another massive strength of the Western Corridor bid is the wider viewing audience it would attract for the NRL.

While a second Brisbane team would draw on an existing population base, a Western Corridor team could lure a fresh new football market.

Johnson said the Brisbane Bombers and Redcliffe proposals are "in the main going to share Brisbane''.

"Brisbane now is facing the same conversation that Sydney had in a city where you had rugby league teams in the city and the population had moved on,'' he said.

He said another Brisbane team could weaken the Broncos.

"One thing you can't do is damage the marquee club of rugby league,'' he said.

"It's TV gold for the game so you can't harm the Broncos.

"The game can only truly expand in SEQ and be sustainable by embracing its growth area.''



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