Beattie puts second Brisbane NRL side on the cards
ARL Commission chairman Peter Beattie has his eye on introducing a second Brisbane team to the NRL for the new TV rights deal in 2023.
In a huge development for the code, Beattie has formally put expansion back on the agenda with the ARL Commission and the NRL's most powerful decision-makers.
The ARLC chairman has approached broadcasters Channel 9 and Fox Sports to discuss adding a 17th team for the commencement of the NRL's next TV rights deal in 2023.
Under Beattie's plan, the new licence would go to a consortium in Brisbane ahead of Perth.
It is the most decisive strategic move yet by Beattie, who last year warned the code had to "expand or die" as the NRL comes under mounting pressure to reward Queensland fans by adding a fourth team in the Sunshine State.
Even Broncos chief executive Paul White recently conceded that Brisbane was ready for a second NRL licence.
At the end of the season, NRL chief executive Todd Greenberg will table a comprehensive report to the ARL Commission outlining his vision for the code, its challenges and its future footprint.
Now Beattie is on the front foot with his proactive and commendable strategy to have a southeast Queensland rival to the Broncos in the NRL in 2023.
For the past five years, the NRL has flirted with the notion of expansion without formally committing to granting new licences.
In recent times, the Brisbane Bombers, Central Queensland and the western corridor Ipswich bid teams have spent millions collectively in their desire to clinch an NRL licence.
In March, it was reported Redcliffe was the frontrunner to clinch the NRL's next licence, with Beattie determined for the code not to stagnate during his term as ARLC chairman.
"I am a strong supporter of expansion because I think the game has to expand," Beattie recently said.
"Clearly Queensland needs another team, that is obvious.
"The challenge is how to manage that.
"The bottom line is Fox Sports and Nine aren't running a charity, they have to work out how does extra teams bring in revenue and is it good for the broadcasters?
"None of this is easy. We don't have a solution yet, but Todd (Greenberg) is working on one."
Sydney-based clubs in particular are likely to oppose any moves for a 17th team.
The NRL gives each club a $13 million grant annually and a second Brisbane team would mean a further outlay of funds from the governing body from its TV rights coffers.
Brisbane will be the host city for two major Touch Rugby League events next month.
From July 4-7 - just days before Origin III on July 10 - Brisbane will witness the TRL State of Origin series and the World Cup as touch football continues its growth as a national sport.
The World Cup, to be played at Shaw Road Sports Complex, will consist of 54 teams from 16 nations in the second installment of the event from July 5-7.
Meanwhile, the Origin Series will be played at Wynnum's Kougari Oval and will be live-streamed on Thursday night, July 4.
Broncos legend Darren Lockyer, a TRL ambassador, recently dusted off his boots for a game and has been blown away by the level of interest in touch football.
"To be picked for your state is a one of the highest honours in any sport and it is great to see the game growing each and every year at this elite level," he said.
TRL general events manager Edward Wilson has witnessed this growth first hand.
"Twenty-four teams competed in the World Cup format last year," he said.
"Fifty-four teams in 2019 is a testament to both the players' passion for elite TRL and passion for their heritage."
Veteran Titans fullback Michael Gordon, currently sidelined with a blood clot in his leg, has given the strongest indication yet he will retire from the NRL.
Gordon is off-contract at season's end and says he is unlikely to follow the lead of his former Sharks teammate Paul Gallen, who is still plying his trade in the NRL at the age of 37.
Gordon turns 36 in October and has had a magnificent career, having compiled 254 top-grade games, but admits he is unlikely to sign another deal with the Titans.
"I haven't approached the club (about a new deal)," he said. "I am pretty comfortable with where I'm at.
"Physically I feel fine, it's more a case of whether I want to go on anymore.
"I don't think that I'm too keen to go on again because I don't want to go on for the sake of it.
"I want to still be healthy and young and be able to play with my kids when I'm older.
"I won't make a definitive call right now, but I'm pretty comfortable with where I'm at ... I know I've got limited time left."
One hot rumour sweeping NRL circles is that Trent Barrett will be the next coach of the Titans, but it appears to be off the mark.
With Titans coach Garth Brennan under pressure at the Gold Coast, former Manly mentor Barrett's name has come up as a potential successor. The whisper has even reached the ears of the relatives of several Titans players.
It is understood Barrett's management has had no dialogue with the Titans, nor received any approaches from anyone at the club.
Titans culture boss Mal Meninga is currently putting together a review of the club which he expects to table to the Gold Coast board next month. Meninga insists Brennan should not be worried about his job, but if the Titans coach is eventually moved on, Queensland coach Kevin Walters will rocket into the frame.
Walters was keen on the Titans post two years ago before he went cold on the job in his hope of succeeding Wayne Bennett at the Broncos. But with Anthony Seibold now entrenched at the Broncos, don't be surprised to see Walters calling the shots at the Titans one day.
The National Rugby League is serious small fry in financial terms compared to the squillions earned by world football's greatest players.
On Wednesday, Forbes released its 100 highest-paid sporting stars with Barcelona and Argentina star Lionel Messi topping the list with a staggering annual worth of $127 million.
That equates to Messi earning around $10.5 million a month - more than the annual $9.6 million salary cap for an entire NRL team.
Indeed, the 31-year-old Messi pockets enough cash to feasibly buy the entire NRL competition.
Breaking it down further, Messi earns more in one week ($2.6 million) than NRL champion Cameron Smith (around $1.2 million) earns in a whole year.
DANE GAGAI: How good was his 95-metre intercept try in Origin I. The Maroons flyer will go down as one of the great representative players.
AJ BRIMSON: Produced some beautiful touches in the Titans' boilover defeat of the Broncos. The Titans can build their club around him.
DAVID FIFITA: Outstanding debut in Origin I. The 19-year-old will be a 10-year player in the Origin arena.
JAKE TURPIN: The tough-as-nails hooker has become one of the finds of the NRL season. Gives his all for the Broncos every week.
LATRELL MITCHELL: Never looked comfortable in the Origin series opener. Was well-contained by Will Chambers just 12 months after towelling up his Maroons rival.
NATHAN CLEARY: In danger of being axed by the Blues for Origin II after another uninspiring display in Game One.
TEVITA PANGAI JR: Has been hot-and-cold all season and was quiet against the Titans last week. Needs some bumper form in the coming weeks to win a new deal.
MICHAEL MORGAN: Morgan is so talented he can play anywhere but moving the Cowboys' main man to fullback is bizarre. He needs to be the general in the No.7 jumper.