Queensland Treasurer and Sports Minister Terry Mackenroth yesterday
made the Gold Coast City Council an extraordinary offer it can’t
possibly refuse.

The state government has moved quickly to try and tie-up the 16th NRL
club expansion slot by offering to build an all new $100 million plus
stadium if Rugby League gives the Gold Coast the nod.

The council meets this afternoon to vote to endorse not only the
government’s generosity, but to fulfill its end of the bargain struck
yesterday between Mackenroth and Gold Coast Mayor Ron Clarke, whereby
the council will be required to provide the land at no cost to the
government to build any new stadium.

You can read it here including our discussions with Mayor Clarke today
ahead of this meeting, in which he makes it clear he sees the
government offer as generous in the extreme, but he also still sees a
place for a future AFL team based on the Gold Coast.

And Jeff Wall, Crikey’s rugby league writer, says:

The consistent
line in today’s News Limited papers confirms what has been suspected
for some time – the entry of the Gold Coast into the NRL premiership in
2007 is now close to a sure bet.

While this news will be
welcomed by Gold Coast backers, and many rugby league fans in
south-east Queensland who want competition for the Broncos, it won’t be
appreciated by John Singleton and other backers of the Gosford
proposal. And they have a point.

It would seem that the Gold
Coast consortium has been given a rails run. There are even signs the
NRL may fast track the approval now the state government has agreed to
provide funding for the stadium the NRL wants.

The full story is on the site here.

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
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