CQ NRL Bid chief executive Denis Keeffe and chairman Geoff Murphy.
CQ NRL Bid chief executive Denis Keeffe and chairman Geoff Murphy. Guy Williams

NRL bid chief is ‘certain’ the region will have its own team

DENIS Keeffe says it's not a matter of if Central Queensland will be given an NRL team, but when.

The CQ NRL bid CEO said he was 100% confident the area would be home to an NRL team in the next few years, as talks of an NRL expansion circulate.

This week the NRL announced $200 million to make rugby league the No1 code in Australia in four years, and chief executive David Smith confirmed expansion would be looked at towards the end of the season. It is understood the NRL will evaluate preferred sites before calling for bids.

Keeffe said he was encouraged by the talks.

"We know we're going to be a very strong commercial enterprise because of the support of rugby league in Central Queensland," he said.

"Strategically, it's vitally important for the NRL.

"By putting an NRL team in Central Queensland, the NRL locks up the east coast of this country."

He also commented on claims from other media that no new teams were expected in the NRL before 2018.

"I'm certain CQ will get its own NRL side … I'm 100% sure of that," he said.

"I don't know when, but we're planning on '16 or '17. We just have to be patient, and we are patient because we're fully committed to this thing."

Keeffe also knocked teams who had been engaging in publicity stunts to get attention for their bid.