IPSWICH'S dream to have an NRL team to follow in 2013 is on life support after expansion plans were dealt a blow by comments from NRL CEO David Gallop.
Gallop sent shockwaves through the seven prospective NRL bids when he said on ABC Radio over the weekend that he thought “we would get to 18 teams by 2015”.
“It might come earlier, but we should be giving our existing clubs a couple of years of new television money to get themselves stable before we introduce new teams into the competition,” Gallop said.
Western Corridor NRL bid chairman Steve Johnson said that the Ipswich bid would prefer a 2013 start and that it would be ready if early expansion was given the green light.
“We can be ready to go tomorrow – subject to getting a football side together,” Johnson said.
“The way our financial model works, the sooner you are on the field the better off you are.
“The 12-month lead-in costs are quite substantial ... so we'd actually prefer a heartbeat lead-in time so we can jump on the field.
“We are disappointed for the Western Corridor if it is going to be delayed because we believe there is a market out there now for a side. But as far as our planning goes it doesn't affect us.
“If expansion comes in 2015 then we will be ready for it.”
Franchises planning to come into the game include Western Corridor, Perth, Wellington, Central Coast, Central Queensland, Brisbane and Papua New Guinea.
Johnson said that if 2014 was the compromise expansion date, the Corridor bid would be ready.
“We have a stadium ready to roll,” he said.
“We have a football club infrastructure.
“We have got our juniors in place. We have got our second-tier clubs in place.
“We are just stepping up one level.
“Whether we start in 2013, 2014 or 2015 – we don't have to reinvent the wheel.”
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