Western Corridor confident of NRL bid

Laine Clark

Western Corridor bid boss Steve Johnson is confident they are in the box seat to become the NRL's 17th team after confirmation expansion will next take place in Brisbane.

Johnson claimed his Ipswich-based bid ticked all the boxes after ARL Commission chairman Peter V'landys announced the next team would be in Brisbane so long as it did not impact on NRL outfits the Broncos and Gold Coast.

"If there is a 17th team it will be in Brisbane, no doubt about that," V'landys told Nine Network's 100% Footy.

"But it has to be a pretty strong business case and also that the Broncos aren't affected and the Titans aren't affected - we don't want to cannibalise them at all."

Western Corridor - which also takes in Logan, Toowoomba and surrounding country areas - appears to face stiff competition with Brisbane Bombers, Redcliffe and a Brisbane Easts Tigers consortium re-named as Brisbane Firehawks set to field rival NRL bids.

However, Johnson said he was encouraged by V'landys' expansion update.

"It's very heartening news (from V'landys) because the cornerstone of his comment was that the new team must not harm the Broncos and Gold Coast," Johnson told AAP.

"We firmly believe we are the only bid that does not do that.

"The others are Brisbane-based bids, and the problem with that is that you are sharing Broncos territory - you impact on them.

"But we are not in their backyard."

Johnson also scoffed at ex-Cronulla captain Paul Gallen's criticism that there was not enough player depth to field a 17th NRL team in Brisbane.

Johnson said the Western Corridor bid was linked with Queensland Cup team Ipswich and their area currently boasted 16,000 players with numbers only expected to grow.

"Those comments (by Gallen) are nonsense," Johnson said.

"We are the growth area of Queensland.

"By 2026 we are going to have more than 19,000 participants compared to Brisbane's 14,000 and Gold Coast's 8,000."

Western Corridor's bid, which was first launched in 2009, has already targeted Ipswich-born Sydney Roosters star Luke Keary as a potential recruit and made plans for a stadium.

While they initially hope to play at Suncorp Stadium, the bid team met last month with Ipswich Mayor Terese Harding to discuss the $10-million redevelopment of North Ipswich Reserve Stadium.

An expansion team may reportedly be unveiled as soon as 2022.

Johnson expected an announcement sooner rather than later with V'landys at the helm.

"Compared to past leaders of our game we would still be having committee meetings about the committee meetings (about expansion)," he said.

"(But) under Peter the game has taken some wonderful steps forward the last few months ... and now he has made a (expansion) decision moving forward.

"When they are ready (for expansion), we will be ready."