NRL fans and Gold Coast ratepayers could have been forgiven for choking on their cornflakes yesterday if they read The Australian ’s Gold Coast momentum building story that did everything but claim the controversial 16th league expansion franchise was on the way to the Coast. The article claimed:

The most significant hurdle in the Gold Coast’s bid to return to the NRL, is set to be removed this month with the local council ready to foot the $50 million bill for a new stadium.

It went on to report how after Gold Coast Mayor Ron Clarke and council officials met on Wednesday with the NRL chief operating officer Graham Annersley, that Clarke hinted: “The Gold Coast would be granted the 16th franchise in 2007 if the council came to the party” over the stadium issue. But local Coast consortium head Michael Searle emphatically denied any such guarantee had been given to the Gold Coast.

But it was enough for the rival Central Coast bid consortium to feel left out in the cold and to question what was going on behind the scenes, with The Australian reporting today that Central Coast spokesman Russell Tate was asking: “This mob is talking as if it’s a done deal that they’ve got a team – they haven’t got an oval yet let alone finance.”

Read the full story on the site here.

Peter Fray

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