Where the Sunshine Coast sits in southeast NRL bid
THE Sunshine Coast will not be joining the NRL despite the State Government ramping up its push for a new southeast Queensland team.
In the wake of news a second Brisbane team may emerge by 2023, Sunshine Coast Council confirmed at this stage it was not involved in any expansion.
Second Brisbane team, the Bombers, are in pole position to secure the NRL's 17th licence but face competition from the likes of the Redcliffe Dolphins, Logan and Perth.
Falcons chairman Ash Robinson said the club had once been in talks with the Bombers about a potential partnership, but that was prior to the affiliation with Melbourne Storm established in 2015.
Since linking with the Storm, the Falcons have appeared in a grand final and last year's sweep to the minor premiership.
Mr Robinson said from a community perspective, he supported a Sunshine Coast-based NRL team but said the finance and logistics of it were too great.
Former chief executive of Sunshine Coast Rugby League Billy Moore previously told the Daily the cost to run an NRL club per season was $25-30 million in base revenue and NRL grants only covered a fraction of the costs. He suggested a combined bid was a better approach.
Mr Robinson said while he believed Queensland could definitely support a fourth NRL team, he did not believe Brisbane was the most deserving. He said rugby league heartlands such as Toowoomba or Central Queensland deserved a shot.
Sunshine Coast Council was approached to comment on its position as to whether the region could support its own team, or whether it considered a partnership with the potential new southeast team.
Sunshine Coast councillor Jason O'Pray said the council had worked extensively over the past few years to build its relationships and reputation with the National Rugby League (NRL).
He said that resulted in the Sunshine Coast securing agreements (prior to the current COVID-19 pandemic) with the South Sydney Rabbitohs and the Cronulla Sharks signing multi-year deals to stage fixture matches at Sunshine Coast Stadium.
"Council has also successfully secured the right to host the NRL Women's State of Origin in 2020 at the Sunshine Coast Stadium," Cr O'Pray said.
"The bids for a new NRL team in southeast Queensland are well advanced and, at this point in time, the Sunshine Coast Council is not formally part of this expansion process."
Should the Sunshine Coast have its own NRL team?
This poll ended on 02 July 2020.
No, we can't support one.
I'm not sure.
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Queensland tourism minister Kate Jones supported a Brisbane bid saying the state had the infrastructure to compete with the Broncos.
Mr Robinson said Falcons chief executive Chris Flannery did a "wonderful job", but said supporting an Intrust Super Cup team posed its own challenges. He did not believe the Sunshine Coast was in a position to secure its own NRL team.
Mr Robinson said the Sunshine Coast was geographically close to Brisbane and had not been afforded the opportunity it should.