Two competing groups vying for the right to become the NRL’s 17th club have joined forces.
Two competing groups vying for the right to become the NRL’s 17th team have joined forces in an attempt to convince the ARL Commission that they can become Brisbane’s second NRL club.
ARL Commission boss Peter V’landys this week revealed expansion is on schedule for 2023, with the NRL expected to announce the code’s 17th team in June or July.
Brisbane Bombers shareholder Nick Livermore confirmed the negotiations with Ipswich bid chief Steve Johnson have led to the birth of the Brisbane Jets alliance.
The pair buried a 10-year rivalry to form a merger that will go up against Redcliffe and Easts Firehawks for a chance to be the NRL’s next expansion team.
“The Brisbane Bombers have always maintained we want to grow the game,” Livermore told 4BC’s WWOS Radio.
“We’ve had some discussions over the last six months about what the expansion will look like and we found there is enough common ground we wanted to maximise the opportunity for the benefit of the game.
“Steve Johnson wants the same outcome as the Brisbane Bombers consortium and that’s growing the game. We’ve parked self-interest and are working together to hopefully get another team in the competition.”
The Jets will be based in the Ipswich region but will also leverage the Toowoomba catchment according to Livermore. He said making the bid bigger makes it more attractive to the game’s powerbrokers and gives it legitimacy when canvassing sponsorship opportunities.
“The area west of Brisbane is one of the fastest growing areas in Australia,” Livermore said.
“Steve and I found some common ground as leaders of our respective bids. We both want to play out of Suncorp Stadium with potentially a training base in Springfield or Ipswich.
“We need to represent as much geographical area as we can to ensure that those fans that don’t support the Broncos or the Titans in south-east Queensland have a team.”
Craig Bellamy and Wayne Bennett have already been approached to coach the foundation team should they qualify for NRL admission.
Bellamy held talks with Bombers bosses 18 months ago in relation to a possible coaching director’s role.