Argument that expansion will damage NRL is wrong: CEO

Darren Lockyer in action during game three of the 2011 State of Origin at Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane.
Darren Lockyer in action during game three of the 2011 State of Origin at Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane. Scott Powick

RECENTLY there have been some "anti-expansion" articles run in a few different media publications followed by a fair bit of supportive comment.

The general argument is that there is not enough NRL player talent available to support two extra NRL teams.

This campaign is starting to gather support, not because the points are valid or proven, but because this negative attitude is constantly being produced.

The language is surprisingly similar, as are the so called "dire consequences".

This consistency indicates to me that these articles are coordinated as part of an orchestrated campaign to confuse and frighten the average rugby league supporter, and the NRL decision makers, into thinking expansion will ruin the wonderful standard of the game and therefore should be opposed. This is complete nonsense.

There are plenty of players in Australia, in Europe or the Pacific Islands who do not have an NRL contract because there are not enough spaces for them in the NRL's 16 clubs.

There are almost 200 former NRL players in the Super League and many hundreds more who have "graduated" from the NYC - Holden Cup, who could be considered as having the potential to be NRL players.

This number is multiplied many times when you consider the quality players in the Intrust Super Cup competition and NSW Cup.

It is only recently that prominent NRL clubs are realising the value of recruiting from these second tier programs instead of the usual practice of "stockpiling" graduates of different rugby league colleges and schools.

The standard of the NRL is extremely high and no-one wants to detract from this standard.

I believe that it is all about opportunity or in my terms "lack of opportunity". I suggest that if this "no expansion" argument had prevailed in 1988, we would not have the Broncos.

I know the next generation of Matty Scott, Greg Inglis or Johnathan Thurston is playing football here in CQ right now. Opportunity is all that is required.

That being said, would players like Darren Lockyer and Alan Langer have gone to Sydney?

Don't know, but from Roma and Ipswich to Sydney is a long shot.

If the same "no expansion" argument won in 1995 and the Cowboys never existed, would the world have seen Matthew Bowen, Matthew Scott, Aaron Payne, Paul Bowman, Josh Hannay, Ty Williams, Nathan Fein, Chris Shepard and many more fantastic Queensland born and bred players? I think not. 

I can't imagine my rugby league world today without Matty Bowen, Darren Lockyer and company.

After all, if it is a long way from Ipswich and Roma to Sydney, it is an eternity from Hope Vale, Ilfracombe, Mareeba, Innisfail, Moranbah, Mount Isa, Proserpine and even Townsville.

I know the next generation of Matty Scott, Greg Inglis or Johnathan Thurston is playing football here in CQ right now. Opportunity is all that is required.

We cannot deny these young players the chance to be the best they can be, and we cannot deny the hundreds of thousands of rugby league supporters in CQ the opportunity to witness this transition.

There is not enough space in this article to discuss the massive strategic value of NRL expansion into CQ, but I will detail these facts in later editorials.

I think the anti-expansion argument is narrow minded, inspired by self-interest, made without consideration of the facts and just plain wrong.

Please support the CQ NRL Bid by going online at www.cqnrlbid.com.au and become a bid or corporate member.



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