Ipswich step up NRL bid - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Ipswich step up NRL bid

07/12/2010 09:09:42 PM Comments (0)

The man behind NSW's Origin overhaul has been hired to oversee Ipswich's bold NRL bid.

Former Sydney Roosters chief executive Brian Canavan has taken on a consultancy role for an Ipswich consortium that hopes to become the third NRL franchise in south-east Queensland by 2013.

Ipswich bid chairman Steve Johnson believed Canavan's recruitment meant their drive had "stepped up a gear".

He said Canavan would be put to "immediate use" conducting a feasibility study and devising a business plan for the bid team.

One of the game's most respected officials, Canavan recently cast his eye over the Blues' State of Origin set-up, resulting in the appointment of Ricky Stuart as the first full-time coach and the sacking of selectors.

"Brian's reputation speaks for itself and it's his excellent standing in the game combined with his extensive experience in sports administration that has us convinced he is the man to take us to the NRL," Johnson said.

Canavan said Johnson had convinced him the area that produced the likes of Allan Langer and the Walters brothers should be the NRL's next team.

"I asked Steve why he believed a western corridor team should be the next team into the NRL and his answer convinced me to get involved - 2.2 million people, 350,000 school kids and 18,000 junior rugby league players," he said.

"The area is an absolute nursery for the game and I'm excited about helping the group show the NRL what we already know - that the next team in the NRL must be us."

Perth are believed to be the favourites in the expansion race.

But another Queensland team - either Ipswich or Central Queensland - reportedly received support at the two-day annual conference of NRL club chief executives and chairmen in Byron Bay last week.

Perth bid project manager Ralph McManis also tried to keep momentum going on Tuesday, releasing survey figures he believed bode well for the return of an NRL team in WA.

Using indicators such as participation, match attendances and TV ratings included in a WARL survey, McManis believed Perth already had a strong case for inclusion.

"Grass roots participation in rugby league in WA has been growing ... from 16 schools in 2000 to over 100 schools in 2010," he said.

"With over 3,000 registered players across school, junior and senior leagues, WA already has the third highest participation rate in Australia."

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