Eels boss laughs off AFL threat in west - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Eels boss laughs off AFL threat in west

By Ian McCullough and Wayne Heming 09/11/2009 08:38:33 PM Comments (0)

Parramatta Eels chief executive Paul Osborne has laughed off suggestions the new Greater Western Sydney (GWS) AFL franchise will have any affect on NRL clubs in the region.

The GWS, which will enter the AFL in 2012, unveiled four-time premiership-winning mentor Kevin Sheedy as their inaugural head coach on Monday, but Osborne said he's unconcerned by the appointment.

"I am not particularly worried by it," Osborne told the Ten Network.

"It's a pretty ordinary game and we've got a much better product."

And the former Canberra prop is also unfazed by the prospect of losing young talent to the rival code.

"I am not too concerned as I am sure they will come back when they see how boring it is. They are quite intelligent in Western Sydney."

However, Osborne did admit he had held discussions with local rivals the Bulldogs and Penrith about the new AFL club and said the three clubs all share the same opinion about the new team.

"We've had a couple of chats with the Panthers and the Bulldogs and we all believe we have the much better product and that our heartland is very much here," he said.

However, North Queensland chief executive Peter Parr cautioned against dismissing the professional manner in which the AFL go about their business.

Parr said rugby league already had programs in place to protect the game in Sydney's west and on the Gold Coast where a new AFL team will enter the league in 2011, and as long as it didn't drop the ball, it should meet the latest challenge.

"They have shown a lot of initiative and once the AFL decide something, hats off to them, they pursue it at 100 miles an hour," he said.

"They're targeting two very tough areas to crack because of what Searley (Gold Coast chief executive Michael Searle) has done it will be particularly difficult on the Gold Coast and they'll find it just as hard in West Sydney.

"I don't think we've got anything to be fearful of as long as we're doing all the right things."

NRL chief executive David Gallop refused to comment on the appointment of Sheedy or the threat of the new AFL club when contacted.

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