Written by Oliver Kellner-Dunk
The recent success of The Dolphins and Queensland’s passion for our game has some fans calling for a fifth NRL team based in the Sunshine State.
While some believe that four is enough and adding another Queensland-based side would over-saturate the market the recent bid for the NRL’s 17th franchise has at least shown us that there are multiple places in Maroons territory willing to have an NRL team of their own.
For over a decade now the Western Corridor has looked to join the competition and have its own team based in Ipswich.
In a last-ditch effort to try and have their original bid accepted the Western Corridor merged bids with the Brisbane Bombers to become the Brisbane Jets and with this came a promise to upgrade North Ipswich Reserve so that it could better host NRL games as Kayo Stadium does for The Dolphins currently.
They were unsuccessful in their bid but there have been rumblings that the Western Corridor will relaunch their bid as they believe that the area’s junior development and Ipswich’s desire for their city to have their own team is enough to try again.
THIRD BRISBANE TEAM
After just four NRL games The Dolphins have a record of three wins and one loss and have drawn huge crowds to all of their fixtures.
This has led many to call for a fifth Queensland-based side and some to specifically call for another team based in Brisbane.
If a third Brisbane-based side was to join the NRL they would likely not be based at Suncorp Stadium due to fixture congestion and the ground possibly becoming overused which means the hypothetical team would have to either receive the backing from an entity to upgrade one of Brisbane’s smaller grounds or call one of the venues for the upcoming 2032 Brisbane Olympics home.
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During the days of their bid The Dolphins announced that if they joined the NRL then the club would take games to the Sunshine Coast and so far they are living up to that promise with Queensland’s newest franchise scheduled to take one game up north in 2023.
Before this announcement there were rumblings that a Sunshine Coast bid could be on the horizon which could re-launch if the NRL do have plans to add a fifth Queensland-based side.
Like Kayo, Sunshine Coast Stadium was called upon to host NRL games when the competition was moved to Queensland in 2021 due to COVID and is set to receive a major upgrade ahead of the 2032 Olympics, increasing the ground’s capacity to 16,000 with the possibility to extend to 20,000.
We are unlikely to see another Queensland team join the NRL as its 18th-based team but with the NRL set to expand to 20 clubs and the Brisbane Olympics on the horizon a fifth team in the Sunshine State could be a realistic option towards the end of this decade.
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