It's Shark raving mad: "We want our own NRL team"
THE crisis-hit Cronulla Sharks may be swimming north soon, but the man behind Ipswich's NRL bid isn't interested in giving them a berth in Ipswich.
Ipswich Jets and Western Corridor NRL bid chairman Steve Johnson said this region had too much home-grown talent to adopt the struggling NRL club and he was sceptical about the club moving anywhere in Queensland.
League powerbrokers have discussed moving the Sharks to Queensland in 2015.
Reports yesterday said the relocation could happen if the cash-strapped club was hit with a multi-million-dollar fine arising from ASADA's investigation into its 2011 supplements program.
Mr Johnson said the report was unconfirmed but, regardless, he would not be interested in making a bid to have the team relocate to Ipswich.
"Our vision and passion has always been to set up our own NRL team here from the ground up, rather than import an already established team," he said.
"We want to give our kids the option of fulfilling their football dreams while still being able to stay at home surrounded by their friends and family."
He said a relocation was not good for the game, because people would want a new side in south-east Queensland to be truly stand-alone.
"If the Sharks were to move anywhere, it should consider Perth - a city in need of an NRL base," he said.
Sydney is home to nine NRL teams, while Queensland has just three.
The options for expansion in Queensland are believed to include Ipswich, Rockhampton or a second Brisbane team.
Ipswich Mayor Paul Pisasale was more open to the idea of the "Western Sharks".
"We've already got a bid in for a western corridor NRL team," he said. "And I think all they have to do to help the bid is to relocate to Ipswich."
Cr Pisasale said he would speak with NRL chairman John Grant to see if the Sharks could have their financial situation resolved and relocate to Ipswich.
Cronulla chief executive Steve Noyce yesterday said the Sharks were not going anywhere, but the decision may not be his if NRL chiefs act against the club.
- Cronulla joined the NRL in 1967
- Despite more than 40 years of competition and three grand finals, the Sharks have yet to win a premiership
- From 1968-2001, the Sharks home ground changed its name five times