Billy Moore: Broncos need local rival
By the time Suncorp Stadium hosts the Pre-Season Charity Cup on Sunday evening, the rugby league shop in Brisbane will have been shut for 171 days.
Five months and 18 days exactly since top level rugby league was played in what is considered one of the game's great strongholds.
And that's why Maroons legend Billy Moore is desperate to see south-east Queensland represented when the NRL next hands out new licenses in the years to come.
Moore is an ambassador for the Brisbane Bombers expansion bid that is staging the Charity Cup clash between the Storm and Bulldogs on Sunday evening and is adamant that the rugby league public in Brisbane is not being sufficiently serviced.
"I passionately believe that Brisbane, which is a rugby league heartland, needs another team," Moore told NRL.com.
"I'm in small business, I have a restaurant in Mooloolaba, and if you think of rugby league as a business, the rugby league shopfront in Brisbane – arguably the second largest rugby league city in the world – is only open 12 times a year for NRL games. It's shut, and if my shop is shut in Mooloolaba, people will go to another shop.
"Rugby league needs to have more exposure, it needs to saturate the south-east market more than what the Broncos – who have done an amazing job over the past two-and-a-half decades – and the Titans more recently are able to do."
Despite recording the worst win-loss season in the club's history, the Broncos average home ground attendance of 30,480 in 2013 was the highest in the NRL. While many will argue that a second team would dilute the supporter base, Moore points to the intense rivalry between Manchester United and Manchester City in the English Premier League at what can be achieved with a competitive marketplace.
"The Brisbane Broncos should welcome another team in Brisbane. It will help them promote themselves, it will create a city rivalry which always works and I use the Manchester model as an example," Moore explained.
"Manchester United, the last two seasons, has made more money since Manchester City has become a serious rival. The fact that Manchester City have risen to the same level – and perhaps even gone past United this season – has not hurt Manchester United at all. They're actually making more money because there's more interest in the game and there's more interest in the rivalry.
"There is more talk and groundswell around the sport in a city that is totally monopolised by soccer itself but it proves my theory that you should want to have good competition in your marketplace.
"What Brisbane needs is a team to come in and immediately say, 'This is a great rivalry' because that means the local derby sells out twice a year."
And if the Bombers were granted entry into the NRL for the 2018 season and beyond, who is at the top of Moore's wish-list?
"Daly Cherry-Evans. Without a doubt, he'd be my No.1 get," Moore said. "Mackay boy, I think he'd be a perfect fit; you could build a team around him."
Tickets for the Pre-Season Charity Cup are $30 for adults, $20 for children/concession and $90 for a family pass for two adults and two children. Click here for tickets.