NRL makes a new home in Queensland
It is a facility that will unite all aspects of the game in Queensland but Queensland Rugby League chairman Peter Betros believes the greatest impact of the opening of Rugby League Central Queensland will be to eradicate the perception that the administration of the game remains Sydney-centric.
Australian Rugby League Commission chairman John Grant and NRL CEO Todd Greenberg joined Betros and QRL CEO Rob Moore to officially open the new building on Castlemaine St directly opposite Suncorp Stadium on Thursday, the room permeated by the warm afterglow of another Maroons State of Origin series win.
The formation of the ARLC in 2012 was seen as the first sign in breaking down the belief that those behind the original New South Wales Rugby League were still the dominant voices in the administration of a game that had spread south to Melbourne and internationally to New Zealand.
But the brand new building adorned by the NRL and QRL logos represents a significant shift in the NRL having permanent resources based in the Queensland capital and one Betros says will be warmly received by rugby league lovers in the Sunshine State.
"It's always been the impression that the game is governed out of Sydney and I think we need to break down that image and show them the reality that Queensland is a very important part of the NRL and part of the Australian Rugby League scene," Betros told NRL.com.
"It's the right message that the game isn't just based in Sydney. It's a game that is spreading its tentacles everywhere and not just being run from one place.
"Queensland is a very important part of that organisation and with an office here now in Brisbane it's shown that the QRL is a very important part of that organisation."
In conjunction with the official opening the ARL Commission met in the new Ross Livermore Boardroom on Thursday, something they had been unable to do previously in the cramped confines of the former offices in the bowels of Suncorp Stadium.
The NRL already has staff working out of RLCQ and NRL CEO Todd Greenberg said that number will increase over time and help to deliver greater outcomes across the broad reach that the game now encompasses.
"Absolutely, and growing year on year," Greenberg said of future NRL staff being based out of the Brisbane office.
"This is a massive market for us. We know that and we're continuing to invest in it and today is evidence of that.
"It's been in the making for a number of years but to have a variety of our different staff all working on behalf of the game in one place sends a very strong message.
"We'll look back at this moment in time and say what a fundamental decision it was for the game. It's a great day for rugby league in Queensland."
Within the state-of-the-art facility is also housed administration staff working for South-East Queensland Rugby League, Touch Football Australia, the Queensland Touch Association and Men of League.
It's a collection of rugby league stakeholders that not even Sydney can rival and one that ARLC chairman John Grant believes will benefit all areas of the game.
"The game here has been submerged underneath the stadium for the last few years but now to get out on a footprint that has a big NRL sign, a big QRL sign, Touch Football Australia, Men of League etc, it's a fantastic day and a fantastic launching pad for rugby league's continued development in Queensland," said Grant.
"One of the issues with all of our game is that it is fractured in terms of all of the people that actually have a stake in the game; this brings everyone together so that we can move forward together.
"We're all working towards the same thing and that's to grow rugby league and to make rugby league more successful. To get more people enjoying rugby league and get more people benefiting from rugby league so to do that as a team rather than as individual organisations will always get a better outcome."