Even NSW captain Paul Gallen reckons a second Brisbane NRL team is a good idea.
Queensland’s public enemy No.1 backed renewed calls for another Brisbane franchise, saying the sold out Suncorp Stadium crowd at the Broncos’ finals win showed fan support would not be a problem.
Gallen even joked that he would consider leading Brisbane’s next NRL team due to the prospect of playing in front of big home crowds.
Suncorp Stadium boasted 50,388 at the Broncos’ 16-12 qualifying final win over North Queensland last Saturday night – almost doubling attendances at each of the three finals played in Sydney over the weekend.
It has revived talk of another Brisbane franchise, with the NRL reportedly confirming there was flexibility in a new TV deal starting in 2018 to introduce teams.
Asked if the fans would keep coming if there was another Brisbane team, Gallen told Sky Sports Radio: “To be honest I think they would keep coming, you know those Queenslanders.
“As much as they don’t like me and I don’t like them at times, they are a passionate bunch and they love their rugby league.
“It’s almost like a religion for them like the AFL is for Melburnians.
“And they’ve got a great junior nursery up there.
“They could handle another team up there, there is no doubt about it.”
The Broncos averaged home crowds of 33,595 during the regular season this year.
Overall the average attendance across the NRL is about 15,000 per game, reportedly the lowest in more than a decade.
Gallen said the thought of playing in front of big home crowds would almost tempt him to play for the next Brisbane franchise – almost.
“If anyone wants to sign me up for a captain-coach job for two or three years I will put my hand up,” Gallen joked.
“They’d boo me no matter what, so it doesn’t matter.”
There could be a call for franchise submissions later this year after NRL head of strategy Shane Richardson conducts a game review.
But Brisbane Western Corridor bid chairman Steven Johnson said he was not holding his breath.
“(I am) totally frustrated. We will have over a million people in that western corridor over the next few years and no NRL side,” Johnson told Fox Sports TV.
Johnson’s Western Corridor bid represents the Ipswich-Logan area west of Brisbane but would be based at Suncorp Stadium.
A Brisbane-based Bombers consortium is also hoping to vie for an NRL franchise.
“We are a growing population, have a massive commercial base and one team in the greater Brisbane area? That just makes no sense,” Johnson said.