Western Corridor NRL bid boss Steve Johnson.
Western Corridor NRL bid boss Steve Johnson. Sarah Harvey

Western Corridor NRL bid waits for kick off

THE WESTERN Corridor NRL bid is not about to roll over and die.

While NRL expansion is unlikely to be on the table in the initial period of the new rights deal, which finishes in 2017, it has not entirely been quashed by the ARL Commission.

The commission is likely to revisit the possibility of expansion at the end of the 2014 season, and if it does Western Corridor NRL bid boss Steve Johnson said his franchise would be ready to enter the fray.

"Hopefully in 2014 they will ask for expressions of interest we will bounce out of the ground again. We will be ready to go," Johnson said.

"The bid document is already written and ready to go. We simply need to update the figures with the new salary cap. But the bid is in hibernation until 2014, which is the unfortunate decision of the commission. That has never been published to the bid teams by the way. We know what we do from the press.

"I haven't had an official notification from anyone inside the commission about that, other than the public comments. But we will keep doing what we have been through the Jets. We have a good relationship with the University of Queensland and we will keep working on those educational programs... and keep working with the Beetson Foundation."

When David Gallop was NRL CEO the Western Corridor bid had regular updates on expansion and where they stood with their bid.

"All we have heard from the commission is that we should put our energies back into grassroots rugby league," Johnson said.

"But we are grassroots rugby league. We don't have to change anything. It is a bit disconcerting when you are sitting on the biggest junior base in rugby league. We believe the game needs to expand now."

Johnson has warned that the AFL also is well aware of the growth possibilities of the corridor.

"The Lions are already looking at Springfield. All reasons that we believe we should have a team in the Western Corridor are the same reasons why the AFL wants to have a training academy there."



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