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Firehawks-Jets talks stall regarding 17th team bid

Discussions between Brisbane Firehawks and Brisbane Jets about the rival bids joining forces in an attempt to become the NRL's 17th team have stalled as a result of contrasting ownership models.

Representatives of the two bid teams met on Sunday and have continued talks since to determine the benefits of a partnership as the ARLC considers whether to admit a second Brisbane side to the competition in 2023 or 2024.

However, Firehawks chairman Stephen Bullow said on Tuesday that there were fundamental differences between the structure of the Easts Tigers-backed bid  and the Jets consortium, which is a merger of the community-based Western Corridor bid and privately backed Brisbane Bombers.

"The Firehawks is owned by Eastern Suburbs Football Club, a community club, and no members can personally benefit," Bullow said.

"We have not sought the opportunity to be the 17th team in the NRL for no reason other than growing participation in rugby league, and the number of those watching of our great game."

Let's tackle this together

Bullow said that forecast profits generated by the Firehawks would be put back into the game. 

"We are financially strong, our marketing plan will bring new fans and sponsors to our game, we have a very good pathways and participation model, and an excellent business plan," he said.

"The redevelopment of Langlands Park [Easts' home ground] commences in October, which includes a fantastic community high performance training centre for the Firehawks team.

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"We will play home games at Suncorp Stadium, Queensland's home of rugby league."

While talks have stalled, Bullow said the Firehawks remain open to further discussions with the Jets bid team.

The Redcliffe Dolphins are the third bid team seeking to become a second Brisbane-based NRL team if the ARLC decides a new club is to be based in the Queensland capital.

Members of the three bid teams made presentations last week to a committee which included ARLC chairman Peter V’landys and commissioners Kate Jones, Megan Davis and Peter Beattie, NRL CEO Andrew Abdo, head of football Graham Annesley and CFO Richard Gardham.

V'landys said later that it would strengthen the claims of the Firehawks and Jets bids if they got together.

"It's a smart thing to do – combining to make a more powerful bid – they have much more money behind them," V'landys told 2GB on Friday.

"One of the assets to the Redcliffe offer is the cash they can put into the game and the available assets they have and the membership of a new audience.

"If we bring in a 17th team it's got to bring in new audience and take a casual fan and turn them onto a rusted-on rugby league fan.

"There’s no good taking fans from the Broncos or Titans or Dragons, they have got to be new fans, with new tribalism and they’ve got to reinvigorate Brisbane rugby league and that's what we are looking at."


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National Rugby League respects and honours the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

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