The Spotlight – CQ to bring on challenges!

Rugby League expansion at times can be a complex subject. Should the decision to expand with two new clubs at the final stages of the year be based on purely Television Rights or substance and financial muscle in place? Or all of the above asCentral Queenslandcan do!

The ARLC have been understandably cautious with playing its cards too early on the expansion table due to rugby leagues past history and limited success on the topic. The major risk has been lack of Financial and Business Support – bids will need support that is 100% committed in the bid stages. The obvious choice in the financial stakes is CQ – we have an owner that has been committed from day one and we are the Powerhouse Economy of the East Coast with huge industries immediately with over 100 coal mines and mineral operations in CQ plus energy, gas, rail, power and farming giants. One of the most lucrative sponsorship deals in history for professional sports clubs in Australia will be the draw-card for an area that has rugby league flowing in their blood.

The VERY Crowded Sporting Landscape – South East Queensland has two NRL clubs and has a lot of risks associated with expansion. The pure fan and marketing strength of the Broncos has seen three Gold Coast clubs fail, the SQ Crushers and the Titans currently facing difficult challenges. With the Broncos possessing a large supporter base from Ipswich and Southern Brisbane (not just the North) and the Titans relying on business and fan support from across the SE to survive – another team will dilute the support and with results expected to be lean early on, it will be a danger.
The NO VACANCY sign is already on Suncorp Stadium with the Broncos, Roar and Reds all tenants at the stadium during the rugby league season, while during the 2011 NRL Finals Series, Suncorp had already used a maximum amount of sporting games (above a set attendance). Add in two heavily promoted AFL clubs, National Cricket, Gold Coast NBL, Netball, W-League, WNBL, Baseball, a handful of heavily sponsored V8 Super Car teams and Brisbane Heat T20 it’s a battle to garner sponsorship dollars. There will be little room to breathe with potential Brisbane NBL and Gold Coast Baseball franchises looking claim inclusion in their respective sports. The second tier with 9 Queensland Cup clubs (including the Gold Coast player suppliedTweed heads) is often forgotten and history says expansion at the top tiers will greatly hamper these clubs – these entities have junior club systems relying on their success. Clubs such as Brothers, Valleys, Toowoomba, Aspley, Brothers-Valleys merge, Sunshine Coast Falcons (took over a decade to replace), Gold Coast Vikings and Wests died off at the top level, while Souths and Logan were forced to merge.

The CQ NRL Bid will strengthen all of our regions, particularly creating a new Bundaberg based Queensland Cup club and potentially strengthening the Capras and Mackay area with players being attracted back to the regions.

 Community Ownership Model for CQ?

Geoff Murphy, Bid Chairman (Brisbane Times):
“Murphy says a Rockhampton-based team would be owned by the community, although he would maintain a significant shareholding.”

The idea comes from the CQ NRL Bid’s strong relationship with NFL giants the Green Bay Packers! The concept will allow a major backer to ensure viability, strong business skills and business contacts at the top level, while allowing the community to have a strong sense of ownership!

Another point is families and the general population live much more AFFORDABLE lifestyles (transport for starters!). They are looking for more family based events to attend and perhaps this is why more are making the move to regional areas!

Locals support their players and club if it has a strong regional feel as seen with the re-branded Capras (historic brand) and bringing in more local players and crowds consistently among the top clubs in 2012.

 NRL vs AFL Interview

 The Sunday Mail had interviews directly with AFL and ARLC CEO’s with Andrew Demetriou and David Gallop last weekend, including their thoughts on expansion with David Gallop stating “firstly you need a robust business model for the particular team and secondly you need to make the decision in a way that the whole game’s pie grows - so that everyone benefits from it, without disrupting your competitive balance.

Central Queensland has indicated they can do exactly as suggested through the Colin Smith (an ARLC TV Rights Consultant) Report hint dropped in the media last week with the report conclusively finding “CQ bid would have the highest level of public and local sponsorship support of any bid and that the TV rights impact would be the same whether a team was based in South East Queensland or CQ.”

Walson Carlos (CQ NRL Bid Business and Community Development Manager) was asked by The Spotlight - how will Central Queensland achieve this, and states “we have a very robust business plan and would enter the NRL competition if granted a license as one of the most viable sporting franchises in Australia. This viability will be secure and constant through our major backers and not reliant upon top-up grants from the NRL. We can and will guarantee long-term viability through our very unique business model. Strategically we are a good fit for expansion because we lock up the whole of the eastern seaboard which historically has a predisposition to NRL as the number one sport, but in recent times AFL is becoming increasingly active and aggressive in their promotion and development in these regions. Central Queensland is the heartland of rugby league and has the strongest avidity for rugby league of any region in Australia.”

 CQ NRL Bid – May Plans

 The bid will again have a very busy month ahead beginning with a site at Beef Australia at the Rockhampton Showgrounds from May 7 to 12 – the huge event (with Bid Chairman Geoff Murphy also Beef Australia Exposition Chairman) attracts over 75,000 local, state, national and international visitors, which is sure to give the Bid an added boost of exposure with the CQ NRL Bid stall right near the front entrance. Likewise to the CQ Leagues Club with the club only a short walk from the Expo!  The Bid will also head to Mackay with key business and later possibly travelling to the CQ U12’s Schoolboys carnival in Yeppoon later in May.

CQ Junior Focus:

This week four Central Queensland juniors were selected into the Queensland U16 team (from the Cyril Connell Cup) to play their NSW U16s before SOO 1 in Melbourne on May 23. Sheldon Bobbert #2 (Capras – Blackwater junior), Sam Smith #3 (Capras - Gladstone), Cooper Bambling #7 (Capras – Yeppoon) and Kieran Duffin #13 (Capras-
- Rockhampton). A further three Central Queenslanders were named on the coaching staff with Mackay Cutters Anthony Seibold (Rockhampton) as Coach, former NRL player Adrian Vowles (Charleville) as Assistant Coach and Gladstone DJRL boss Richard Duff as Manager.

The State Schoolboy Championships begin soon with the U15s on Thursday through to the Sunday final in Toowoomba and the U18s (Opens) at Maroochydore from May 17-20. Good luck to Capricornia and WideBayboys!

CQ Local Leagues

All Central Division Local Leagues take a break for the 47th Battalion Shield this weekend (11am – 5.30 Saturday and 9am – 3.30pm Sunday) with Mens teams from Bundaberg (defending champions), South West Country, Gladstone, Toowoomba, Sunshine Coast, Rockhampton and Central Highlands partaking. Four regional Womens sides are nominated and four for the U20s (inaugural competition). The Central United Mens squad selected from the carnival will look to defend their State Title.

QRL Intrust Super Cup

Last Friday night was the Men of League Rivalry Round with Capras taking on Mackay Cutters at Virgin Australia Stadium. The Cutters continued their run of form with a third straight victory. With the game sitting at 14-12 to Cutters at half time, the score blew out to 42-12 by the final siren!

Round 8: This Sunday the Capras take on Burleigh Bears atBrownePark(2pm kick off) and Mackay Cutters travel away toDaviesParkagainst Souths Logan Magpies who have the Channel 9 TV game with kickoff at 2.10pm.


In case you’ve been under a rock the last few weeks, the much anticipated Round 16 Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs vs Melbourne Storm clash will now be played at Virgin Australia Stadium in Mackay on Sunday June 24 at 2pm (broadcasted on Fox Sports 2). Mackay’s own Ben Barba and Dane Nielsen are both in red hot form, while being natural fan favourites along with the host of Origin stars! An easy 12,000 seat sell out with 10,000 more wishing they had a ticket! Let’s show them our Central Queensland passion!

City vs Country scrapped for pure Country Clash?

Recently, acclaimed rugby league journalist Steve Mascord has been indicating that the ARLC may be looking into replacing the NSW City-Country clash with Queensland Country against NSW Country. It could well be a great initiative!
Perhaps winning the annual clash could mean the event stays in that state as a reward? Otherwise swap state each year with Regional Councils, Facilities or Groups to bid for the clash. The event would be a Ratings winner and inspire regional fans like never before with stars playing in these locations (helping attract big name companies). School and junior rugby league development sessions could be completed during the week leading up to the match and some profits going into junior rugby league clubs.

The Final Word!

Gallop has suggested Rugby League has to be cautious with expansion to avoid past mistakes, withCentral Queenslandhaving now over 3 years of planning,

CQ NRL Bid Chairman Geoff Murphy said to Sport Biz Insider about the latest I am prepared to release elements of the (Global Media and Sport) report to prove once and for all that CQ has the ability, the avid Rugby League population, the will and most of all the means to establish a very viable and successful NRL club in CQ that will not impinge on the current NRL Club structure and that will add significantly to the NRL, and its media partners.”

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