Queensland rugby strongmen are urging the Australian Rugby League Commission to reconsider their plans to create an entirely new franchise in Brisbane.
This follows ARL chairman Peter V’landys telling News Corp that he wishes to start a new team in Queensland despite the dire economic conditions brought on by pandemic.
Instead of this, QRL chairman Bruce Hatcher is asking V’landys to minimise costs and to instead re-locate a Sydney side who already have cash in the bank.
“I am an advocate of moving at least one of the Sydney teams. Financially the obvious ones are Cronulla and Manly and finances are the first thing you look at” Hatcher explained to News Corp.
“You start anything from scratch and there is a hell of a lot of expense in trying to get it up. You are a mile in front if you already have a team.
“That gives you a bigger opportunity because it straddles two decent markets and you are using the available talent to maintain a strong competition.”
Meanwhile, Peter V’landys has his heart set on creating a brand new franchise from a bidding Queensland club either by 2022 or 2023.
Both Redcliffe and East Tigers have registered their interest, with the latter’s effort progressing well.
Despite the COVID pandemic crippling the NRL, V’landys is convinced that the money could be put together to make the expansion happen.
“We have to concentrate on getting the competition finished this year but I am committed to having a second team in Brisbane” V’landys said to News Corp.
“We have plenty of time to achieve this and to formulate business plans. There are bid teams out there working hard on their submissions so no time is being lost through this COVID period.”
The ARL chairman is also adamant that it will not negatively impact the other Queensland sides, who are not performing to standard this season.
“I will not expand the game if another team will cannibalise the existing Queensland sides, but I am confident that will not happen.”
“We have our Queensland partners up there so the last thing we want to do is hurt the Broncos and the Titans.”
Nevertheless, many are fearful that the expansion of the AFL into Queensland will hurt the NRL even more, as the Grand Final due to be hosted in Brisbane in October will lure league fans away.
However, Titans head of culture Mal Meninga is sure that the AFL’s crusade into the Sunshine state isn’t anything to lose sleep over.
“AFL can only concentrate on AFL and we can only control what we can control. We’re doing a terrific job from a rugby league point of view.”
“We can only keep doing what we’re doing. We’ve got to be mindful of it (the AFL‘s incursion into Queensland) but we’re not overly concerned.”