The Bid Team

Bid team

Front Office

Denise Keeffe - CEO

Denis Keeffe has over 25 years of senior management experience in professional Rugby League at the elite National and State competition levels as well as the National Basketball League (NDBL). Following his successful 10 years as the inaugural CEO of the Townsville Crocodiles, Denis was recruited by News Limited to the North Queensland Cowboys. As the CEO, and under his management, the troubled Cowboys franchise was transformed into a successful NRL club and became grand finalists within four years.

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Board Members

Geoffrey Murphy - Chairman

  • Managing Director and owner of The JM Kelly Group of Companies
  • Chairman, CQNRL Bid Co Ltd
  • Chairman, Beef Australia Ltd.
  • Graduate, Harvard University School of Business

Considered among the most influential and community-minded leaders in Central Queensland, Toowoomba-born Murphy – managing director of the JM Kelly Group of Companies – heads up the largest diversified and privately-owned construction business in Queensland.

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Cr Paul Bell AM

A highly respected civic leader on the coalfields of Central Queensland, Paul is Chairman of the Local Government Association of Queensland and previously served as Chairman of the Australian Local Government Association, giving him a voice at COAG meetings alongside the Prime Minister and State and Territory leaders. Now serving as Deputy Mayor of Central Highlands Regional Council, Paul lives at Emerald and is the proud father of Steven, who made five Origin appearances for Queensland in 2006-07 and won an NRL premiership with Manly in 2008.

Ray Conder

Based in Rockhampton, where he is Company Secretary of the CQ NRL Bid Team, Ray works in the highly specialised field of business development and operates his own successful consultancy business, Venture Improvement. Before entering the private sector, Ray worked as a regional business adviser to the Queensland Government.

Wayne Daniels

A long-time resident of Rockhampton, Wayne is a pharmacist by profession, albeit now retired, but remains extremely active in local business as Managing Director of the locally-based Daniels Surgical & Health Equipment. A keen cattle breeder, Wayne also owns a substantial cattle property on the nearby Capricorn Coast.

Steve Dowden

Born in the northern sugar town of Ayr but raised in Mackay, Steve is General Manager of Dowden’s Pumping, Mackay and Brisbane and now incorporating McGinn’s Engineering, a long-established Mackay-based company. With a strong financial background, Steve has largely overseen the growth of the business his father Trevor began in 1974. On the rugby league front, in particular, Steve is a highly regarded in his hometown, having been a prominent player for Brisbane Easts before returning to Mackay in the mid-1990s. Nowadays, he is also now a director of the Mackay Cutters and Souths Leagues Club, considered one of the premier licensed clubs in regional Queensland.

Ellen Farlow

Ellen Farlow, who is based on her native Capricorn Coast, has a background in business management and major event project management, planning and operation including working as an advisor for the International Olympic Committee and in operational and management roles with the Olympic Organising Committees for Sydney 2000, Torino 2006 and the Beijing2008 Games and also with the Manchester 2002 Commonwealth Games.  After living and working throughout Australia and overseas, Ellen returned to the Capricorn Coast in 2006 and in addition to working locally with Julie Tanner at Tanner Consulting, Ellen continues her consulting business with international clients on Olympic, Paralympic and Commonwealth Games bids, planning and operational delivery.

Jason Foss

Jason’s first love is computers, and close in second place is rugby league. By combining the two in support of the game, Jason is in his element. Working with computers since 1984, and subsequently designing websites since 1997, Jason has a wealth of knowledge that has contributed to the significant growth of Almost Anything Web & Graphic Design.

Mark Graham

One of the superstars of international rugby league in the 1980s, Mark was named New Zealand’s player of the century in 2007 and previously coached the then Auckland Warriors in the NRL. Nowadays, his adopted home is the harbour city of Gladstone, where he works as a plant operator at the local port. Mark is also heavily involved in Central Queensland rugby league, in his role as head coach of the Gladstone Brothers club.

Peter Hamilton

A respected Bundaberg businessman, Peter is a partner in DGZ Financial Planning and Pizza Hut franchises in both Bundaberg and Hervey Bay. He is also a former director of the Bundaberg Enterprise Centre. The Hamilton family has been long associated with local league, with Peter first playing the game as a nine-year-old in Gin Gin before representing Wide Bay, Queensland Country and Queensland Residents in the 1990s.

Jason Hetherington

Often tagged as the ‘boy from Baralaba’, Jason is fiercely proud of his rural origins and the fact he was raised in the Dawson Valley, south-west of Rockhampton. By the late 1990s, Jason had become a high profile NRL player with the Bulldogs and represented Queensland in eight State of Origin games, as well as playing two Tests for Australia. Nowadays, he is part of the coaching staff for the Queensland Origin team, and locally, Gladstone Brothers.

Gary Larson

Originally from Miriam Vale, Gary holds the record for the most successive games (24) in State of Origin football – a mark that is unlikely to be broken. A legendary modern day player with the North Sydney Bears, Gary also played nine Tests for Australia, with the highlight of his international career coming in 1995 when Australia won the Centenary World Cup in the UK. Nowadays, Gary is head coach of his local club, Tannum Sands Seagulls.

Ron Milne

Based on the Capricorn Coast and having represented Queensland in the 1970s, Ron is highly regarded in Central Queensland rugby league circles. However, he is also a highly reputable name in local business, having established himself as a leading tractor and machinery dealer, operating out of both Rockhampton and Emerald in the Central Highlands. Ron is also a member of the CQ syndicate behind 2009 Golden Slipper challenger Real Saga.

Brad Nevin

Brad is General Manager Business Services for Stanwell Corporation Limited. In his playing days, Mr Neven was a top class centre-turned-backrower, winning 10 grand finals, including State League success with Rockhampton in 1995 before the advent of the Queensland Cup competition. Having previously represented the Capras, Mr Neven was part of Central Queensland’s inaugural Queensland Cup squad in 1996 and was made captain in 1999 when he also represented Queensland Country. In 2000, the Capras underwent a name change – to Comets – and Mr Neven captained the side and went on to be named clubman of the year in what turned out to be his final season on the rugby league field. In retirement, Brad remained involved with the game, first as a Comets board member and later, as chairman of the Browne Park Management Committee, overseeing the development and construction of a new grandstand on the George Street side of the ground. In 2007, Mr Neven directed his energies to junior rugby league and was instrumental in forming the Brothers club on the Capricorn Coast.

Ross O’Reilly

A resident of the Capricorn Coast, where he operates a highly successful real estate business, O’Reilly’s Real Estate, Ross previously served as inaugural Chief Executive of locally-based Queensland Cup side, the Comets. With a strong background in coaching, Ross was once in charge of his own team in the English Super League – Workington Town – and he also coached Redcliffe to a premiership in 1994 – the club’s first senior title in almost three decades. Ross’ coaching resume also includes his work at the helm of the Queensland Residents.

Stan Smith

A well known Rockhampton solicitor, and with interests in a local real estate business, Prime Properties, Stan has been involved in rugby league in Central Queensland for more than three decades. A stalwart of the Brothers club in Rockhampton, he has previously served as Vice-Chairman of the QRL Central Division.

Robert South

Based in Rockhampton, Robert is now retired but remains a highly respected figure in the local business community, thanks to his long-time role as Chairman of The Rock Building Society, one of Australia’s largest regionally-based building societies. Robert has also been a long-time supporter of local community endeavours.

Ken Weir

Based in Mackay, Ken has owned and operated K & J Weir Plumbing for the past 46 years and his family name has been associated with rugby league in Mackay for decades. A life member of the Mackay Rugby League, Ken played for Mackay in the prestigious Foley Shield and also represented North Queensland. A long-serving Chairman of Northern Suburbs Leagues Club, Ken was somewhat of a visionary in league administration, having once mooted the possibility of a Mackay-based team in the Sydney competition – years before the advent of the Cowboys.

Peter White

Based in Gladstone, Peter is well known in the harbour city, primarily through his work over a decade as manager of local newspaper, The Gladstone Observer. Nowadays, he works in the commercial property sector, in between his commitments to grassroots league as secretary of the Gladstone Rugby League. As a player, Peter represented Queensland Country and the Queensland Residents, as well as the Central Queensland Capras.

Leo Zussino

As Chief Executive of Gladstone Ports Corporation, Leo is held in the highest esteem in the harbour city of Gladstone, arguably one of Australia’s true ‘super ports’ thanks largely to the Bowen Basin coalfields. Prior to taking up his current role in 2000, Leo served as Chairman of the Gladstone Ports Authority. He is also currently Chairman of the Gladstone Economic and Industry Development Board and the Australian Maritime Safety Authority.