Newspaper article The Queensland Times (Ipswich, Australia)

IPSWICH JETS IN NRL BID Jets Plan NRL Bid; New Club Would Play at Suncorp Stadium

Newspaper article The Queensland Times (Ipswich, Australia)

IPSWICH JETS IN NRL BID Jets Plan NRL Bid; New Club Would Play at Suncorp Stadium

Article excerpt

Byline: CHRIS GARRY chris.garry@qt.com.au

THE battle has officially begun. The Ipswich Jets football club has formed a bid team which is creating a business plan to pitch the city as the region most deserving of an NRL club.

Jets board chairman and the owner of a large law firm, Steven Johnson, will helm the bid team after he met with NRL boss David Gallop earlier this month.

Johnson discussed with Gallop the need for the Jets football club to hold the rights as sole bidders for any NRL team west of Brisbane.

While the team's support base would include Logan and Toowoomba, it would be an Ipswich based team with a football club structure and no private ownership.

The side will likely be called the Ipswich Jets although the Western Jets also has support.

Johnson and a highly regarded businessman, whom he declined to name, have begun preparing a detailed business report which will prove why Ipswich deserves to be the NRL's next expansion site.

"We do not want a private ownership model here in Ipswich that's what I spoke with Gallop about," Johnson, who owns Queensland Law Group, said.

"We will have a football club based team run by the Jets which will be part of the community.

"We are preparing a feasibility study which will prove we would be successful with this model.

"Our argument is quite compelling.

"In six to 12 months the NRL will call for submissions and our bid team will have a detail business plan to present."

The bid team was formed after Gallop said two teams would likely be admitted for the 2013 season, one team based in an expansion area such as Peth, another in heartland such as Ipswich or Central Queensland.

Ipswich's population is 170,000 but government forecasts state it will explode to more than 400,000 in the next two decades, providing a huge potential pool of footy-loving families.

The Ipswich Jets NRL team will initially play out of Suncorp Stadium while their own stadium is funded and built.

"Our vision for the Jets NRL team is to have heavy community involvement which ensures the great talent in the region can stay here until they are men," Johnson said. …

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