LNP Deputy Leader Tim Mander speaks with Sunshine Coast Falcons chairman Ashley Robinson and CEO Chris Flannery at Sunshine Coast Stadium.
LNP Deputy Leader Tim Mander speaks with Sunshine Coast Falcons chairman Ashley Robinson and CEO Chris Flannery at Sunshine Coast Stadium.

Coast ‘warrants consideration’ for NRL team: Mander

LNP Deputy Leader Tim Mander says having a permanent Sunshine Coast NRL team is not the impossible dream it once was.

With the NRL debating over the location of its 17th team, Mr Mander said one day he would love to support a Sunshine Coast-based side.

A second Brisbane team is believed to be in pole position, with Ipswich, Perth and North Sydney also in the running.

It comes after Melbourne Storm coach Craig Bellamy last week gave a glowing endorsement of the Sunshine Coast region, stadium and facilities to house its own team.

On the same day as the LNP pledged $20 million in funding to upgrade the stadium, Mr Mander said the Coast having its own NRL team was not an “impossible” dream.

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LNP Deputy Leader Tim Mander. (Image/Josh Woning)
LNP Deputy Leader Tim Mander. (Image/Josh Woning)

“It’s far from impossible, and I think that the NRL itself is still trying to work out its sides it should have and of course COVID-19 has thrown everything into confusion, but there is no doubt in the future that this is an ideal place to base a side,” Mr Mander said.

“It is outside of a capital city, has a large population base and a rich history of players and supporting rugby league players.

“I think it would warrant, definitely, consideration in the future.”

Mr Mander, a former NRL referee, said there were a lot of factors for the NRL to weigh up in its decision.

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“Not just for the side here, but for the number of sides in the competition,” he said.

“It’s an ongoing debate, been happening for the last 10 years on where the expansion should happen.

“I am a strong supporter of the expansion happening away from capital cities, and it’s great for an NRL side to have an identity, a geographical location that people relate to.

“And the Sunshine Coast definitely falls into that category.

“I’d love to retire here one day, Caloundra is my holiday spot, so I’d love to be able to support a local side here in the future.”

Melbourne Storm academy player Jesse Page said the support for games on the Sunshine Coast was “phenomenal”.

“For what we get around here, the support for a local game is crazy, like if we started an NRL team or Melbourne came here more, it would be crazy,” Page said.

“To have another big stadium or an extension would be awesome.”


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