Gould, Bennett could go with Bears to NRL - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Gould, Bennett could go with Bears to NRL

Ben Horne 20/01/2011 07:10:14 PM Comments (0)

Central Coast Bears are considering taking two of the game's most influential figures with them when they make their final proposal to David Gallop for readmission to the NRL.

Super coaches Wayne Bennett and Phil Gould have supported the Bears' bid from the outset, for the way it expands the game to a rugby league heartland and brings back the tradition of a foundation club.

Bears chief executive Greg Florimo says the official presentation is still to be finalised, but having Bennett and Gould there in person would have its advantages.

"We've underlined the key stakeholders or certainly the key commentators in the game to ask for their support and I think they'll carry a lot of weight in their thinking and the (imminent) independent commission's thinking," said Florimo, who at this stage is aiming to lodge the proposal in late March.

"The actual presentation and how the bid looks when we go to the NRL is obviously still being engineered and we've engaged a company to do that.

"It's about working out exactly what strengths we have to portray and how best to deliver that.

"If that means we've got Phil Gould and Wayne Bennett in the room when we present, well that might be the case, but I'm not sure if that's the actual tact we'll follow at the moment."

The insight into the make-up of their final bid comes on the back of the Bears' board accepting a $10 million deal in principle with Mortgage House to underwrite the club's ownership.

Florimo revealed the club has now cracked the 5000 member mark, with 70 per cent of those members central coast locals.

Perth and central Queensland bids have also gained publicity of late, but Florimo said Graham Annesley has indicated the Central Coast model is the front-runner.

A decision on expansion is expected to be made by the NRL mid year.

"We've met with Graham Annesley a couple of times in the past few months and all along he's stated that the Bears is the most advanced," he said.

"And that's given we have a large membership base now, more than 5000 members and there's a number of other elements of our bid that perhaps aren't there in the other bids, i.e the stadium.

"He's made it clear to us that we're the most advanced of the bids."

At the NRL ceo's conference at the end of last year, the majority of club bosses indicated they were more supportive of expansion to Perth and central Queensland than they were to the Central Coast.

But Florimo said it was a misconception that the Bears would be a threat to Sydney clubs keen to guard their patch.

"I think there's enough value on the coast and on the north shore to sustain a team so it doesn't impact on other clubs, it's a massive franchise area," he said.

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