CQ's NRL bid hits Bilolea

FOOTY FEVER: Banana Shire Mayor John Hooper with CQ NRL Bid Team chairman Geoff Murphy at Tuesday's Callide Dawson launch.
FOOTY FEVER: Banana Shire Mayor John Hooper with CQ NRL Bid Team chairman Geoff Murphy at Tuesday's Callide Dawson launch.

THE Callide-Dawson region could expect regular visits by NRL players, coaching clinics and trial games, once a Central Queensland-based NRL side is established.

That was the message from CQ NRL bid team chairman Geoff Murphy, addressing people at the bid team's Callide-Dawson regional launch at the Biloela Civic Centre on Tuesday night.

“Although the club would be based in Rockhampton, the Callide-Dawson area would be right in line to host regular pre-season games, most likely involving our under-20s side,” Mr Murphy said.

“A CQ-based NRL team would also commit to staging regular coaching clinics at schools and junior clubs throughout the region … not just here in Biloela but also centres such as Moura, Baralaba, Theodore, Wowan, Taroom and Woorabinda.

“It'd be a huge shot in the arm for league in these towns, which form part of the game's true heartland.”

Mr Murphy said the Callide-Dawson region was well represented on the bid team by Baralaba product and former Bulldogs, Queensland and Australian hooker Jason Hetherington.

“Jason is a legend in these parts.

“He's never forgotten where he came from and that's what makes him such a special person,” said Mr Murphy.

Banana Shire Mayor Cr John Hooper said the possibility of a CQ-based NRL team continued to be a growing talking point within shire communities.

“The concept is certainly gaining traction,” Cr Hooper said.

“The bid team that has been assembled is showing great spirit and determination and we in Banana Shire are right behind them.

“If they're successful, we'd have many of our towns almost empty on game night … that'd be their pulling power.”

Mr Murphy said the establishment of a CQ-based NRL side would make the entire region a better place to live while giving local boys an opportunity to play big-time league, without relocating to southern capital cities, away from family and friends.

“Getting a licence to operate an NRL team won't be easy and every person on the bid team accepts that.

“But I can assure the local people here, the NRL and anyone who'll listen for that matter, that we won't be going away.

“I've said before at our other regional launches and I'll say it once again.

“It's only a matter of time before we get our own team.

“It can be done and it shall be done.”

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