Queensland public enemy number one doesn't want to move
QUEENSLAND public enemy No.1 Paul Gallen is just as keen about moving to Rockhampton as the Beef Capital's locals are to have him.
The Morning Bulletin phoned the New South Wales State of Origin and Cronulla Sharks skipper yesterday amid reports the Sharks could be forced to relocate to Rockhampton ahead of the 2015 NRL season.
It's understood NRL powerbrokers have talked about the possibility of moving the Sharks - who bowed out of the 2012 NRL finals last Friday night - to Rockhampton if the club was hit with a million-dollar fine from the NRL for bringing the game into disrepute over the supplements crisis.
Australian representative Gallen, who is in training ahead of the 2013 World Cup, said there was no chance of him moving into Queensland heartland.
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Gallen made it clear he wasn't enthusiastic about the idea.
"No mate, it won't be happening," Gallen said, with a chuckle.
"I won't be moving there. I've got nothing (more) to say."
AFL club Essendon was fined $2 million and stripped of its first two draft picks next season for its systemic use of peptides.
If the NRL was to issue Cronulla with an equivalent fine, it's believed it could effectively send the club into financial oblivion.
The ASADA report into the club's practices is set to be handed down after the NRL grand final on October 6, but the final ruling from the NRL on the supplements scandal could drag on into the 2014 NRL season, forcing the Sharks to relocate ahead of the 2015 season.
It's understood the NRL has the power to rescind any club's licence if it has become financially insolvent or in extreme circumstances, where a club has damaged the NRL's reputation.
With nine NRL clubs in existence in Sydney and only three in Queensland, NRL powerbrokers believe the possible relocation of the Sharks is a commercial reality rugby league can no longer ignore.
Central Queensland Capras coach Jason Hetherington believed an NRL team in CQ would have the full backing of the region.
"I think any side, whether it's a new team or one relocated, the locals will support them, it doesn't matter who is here," he said.
"They're loyal people so they'll turn up. I'm excited about the prospect of certainly just being considered that it's a viable place for another side whether it be the Sharks or we start from scratch. It's very honouring to think that CQ is a good spot and a viable spot for a side."
Southern media confirmed NRL CEO Dave Smith and some of the other NRL commissioners had canvassed the issue.
Through his Twitter account yesterday Smith said a decision had not been made to move the Sharks.
"I can't be clearer: We have no plans to move Cronulla," Smith said. "We'll only address ASADA outcomes based on facts and we'll continue to help the club."