Written by Oliver Kellner-Dunk
Intrust Super Cup side the Eastern Suburbs Tigers originally competed in the Brisbane Rugby League premiership as Coorparoo from 1917 prior to forming the Eastern Suburbs District Rugby League club after the move to district football in 1933.
They are currently aligned with the Melbourne Storm as their feeder club, however, have recently put in a bid to be the next NRL expansion club.
Due to the Wests Tigers already playing in the NRL, Easts needed to update their brand to have their bid considered.
They have recently released their new branding and crest under the “Brisbane Firehawks” name.
This has been met with great confusion, with many misinterpreting the term “Firehawk” as a made-up creature stemming from a brand selection without much though put into it.
It could not be further from the truth tho, as Australian Firehawk Raptors do indeed exist and as you can tell from the name, are native to the country the club are based in.
The Firehawks are strong candidates for the NRL’s second Brisbane based club due to having one key advantage over their main competitors.
This advantage is simply having a pre-established history and fanbase.
A big reason as to why a second Brisbane based club will be joining the competition is to boost free-to-air viewership ratings, which is something the Firehawks and other bidders should be able to accomplish, however, an entity without history will find it harder to develop an NRL standard fan base in Brisbane and by the end of their first season could struggle to draw a decent crowd.
The Firehawks, on the other hand, will always have their link to the Eastern Suburbs Tigers. They will inherit their history and likely their fanbase in the East Brisbane area as well.
While the supporter base may not be huge at first, there should still be enough people on board initially for it to grow quite quickly in the future.
A connection to the Tigers will also assist in attracting former Easts players who have gone on to play in the NRL.
Players such as Christian Welch, Patrick Carrigan and down the line Kalyn Ponga could be persuaded to sign with the Firehawks, with that Tigers connection playing a huge role.