Ambitious Brisbane Tigers chairman Shane Edwards has declared the club is ready to be the NRL’s newest franchise – and if given the green light, will look to emulate Wayne Bennett’s impressive start with the Dolphins.
Speaking to Daily Mail Australia on Saturday, Edwards pointed to the Tigers’ new $10million stadium south of Brisbane’s CBD, a high performance centre as well as a healthy financial position.
It is understood ARLC chairman Peter V’landys is looking to add an 18th NRL team as early as 2027 as part of a new TV rights deal – and the Tigers fancy their chances ahead of other bidders, including a second New Zealand team, a Pasifika squad, as well as a Perth presence and the return of the North Sydney Bears.
The Tigers lost out to the Dolphins in 2021 when it came to securing a NRL licence – but Edwards doesn’t believe lightning will strike twice.
‘We firmly believe we are ready now, but we will listen to what the NRL have to say, its in their hands,’ Edwards said.
Brisbane Tigers chairman Shane Edwards has declared the club is ready to be the NRL’s newest franchise
A new $10 million stadium south of Brisbane’s CBD, high performance centre and financial backing has the Brisbane Tigers ready to launch another bid for a NRL licence (Edwards is pictured left, with CEO Brian Torpy)
Former Tigers players include current NRL stars such as Cameron Munster, Cody Walker and Felise Kaufusi (all pictured left to right)
Former NRL premiership-winning coach John Lang won three titles with the Tigers in his playing days
‘We are fully focused on a stand-alone bid…..our focus is the area in Greater Brisbane, on the south side of the river.
‘There are 600,000 more people living on the south side and both the Broncos and the Dolphins are based on the north side.
‘The [Gold Coast] Titans are also 70km down the road, so we have a massive population at our doorstep….there is a clear hole in the market we can tap into.’
Edwards added that according to forecasts, three of the fastest growing populations in the next 10 years across Queensland will be Logan, Ipswich and the Gold Coast.
‘If you look at the south-west corridor that incorporates Logan to Ipswich, there is another 275,000 people so that will take the population to around one million in that region alone,’ he said.
‘We have the chance to generate an instant local following, and we will definitely be community based. ‘We [Tigers] are celebrating 90 years in 2023, but we want to go to the next level and be a fulltime, professional NRL club.’
Edwards then referenced the huge game day attendances at Suncorp Stadium so far this season in the NRL, across Magic Round as well as Broncos and Dolphins home games.
‘Yet this year there are nine weekends where there is no game at Suncorp Stadium… another Brisbane team would change that,’ he said.
Broncos great Steve Renouf also enjoyed a stint at the Tigers at the twilight of his career
NRL ‘supercoach’ Wayne Bennett has worked his magic early at the Dolphins in their first NRL season – and it hasn’t gone unnoticed by key figures at the Tigers
While premierships have eluded the Tigers in recent years, they were a force in their heyday (pictured, club legend Des Morris)
‘Granting us a licence would also give the NRL the opportunity to further grow the game.’
Edwards – who worked at the Broncos from their inception in 1988 until 2002 in marketing and as the club’s managing director, hasn’t been surprised the Dolphins have hit the ground running with Bennett in charge.
‘I worked closely with Wayne, he is an outstanding motivator,’ he said.
‘Players, staff and the fans have bought into what the Dolphins are about….we are delighted at how well they are going and if given the opportunity, we will look to forge a similar path on and off the field.’
Broncos coach Kevin Walters welcomes the competition another Brisbane team would offer at NRL level.
‘I’m sure we could accommodate ten teams here in Queensland. People just love their footy so much,’ he said.
‘They have proved that with the Dolphins coming in. If another team comes in, bring it on, let’s go.’