Ipswich Mayor Paul Pisasale.
Ipswich Mayor Paul Pisasale.

Backers in for NRL bid

THE WESTERN Corridor NRL bid is set to attract major corporate sponsorship should it win a licence for the 2015 season, with giant home-builder Sekisui House keen to come on board.

Knockers of the Western Corridor bid have said the bid will not be able to attract the necessary corporate backing to sustain an NRL club, but Ipswich Mayor Paul Pisasale has rubbished those claims.

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Cr Pisasale, the NRL bid patron, made the point that the bid won't just be attracting backers from the Ipswich area, but will source support from far and wide.

"What the people from Brisbane (Bombers) don't understand is that this is the fastest-growing area in the country, and they don't realise that we have the largest house builder in the world on board in Sekisui House," he said.

"They don't realise what Mirvac, Stockland and Orion are doing out here either.

"The distance between Ipswich and Brisbane is 40 minutes. I am sitting here right now in a meeting with five Brisbane corporate backers and they would much rather be part of a Western Corridor bid because that is where their customers are.

"I'll also be meeting with another four or five more over the next month.

"Just take a look at John Gambaro. He has the number one restaurant in Brisbane - Gambaro's - and when he did a fundraiser he did it for the mayor's community fund in Ipswich.

"I am not the bid patron for nothing.

"I will be playing a major role to make sure that everyone who supports the bid will get my support and the city's support.

"But asides from all that, we have got the fan base. We have never said that we are going to build a stadium.

"We are going to use Suncorp Stadium. We are going to bring the fans. "All the Brisbane bid will do is split the fans.

"If we play a game we are going to get 20,000 to 30,000 there because we will draw in Ipswich, Logan, Toowoomba and that whole corridor."

Western Corridor bid chairman Steve Johnson said Cr Pisasale was "the ace up our sleeve" when it comes to attracting corporate support.

"People underestimate the fact that we are the only bid with local government support," Johnson said.

"By the time we present our bid I hope to have letters from Logan City Council, Ipswich, Toowoomba, Scenic Rim and Lockyer Valley; all saying that they support our bid.

"Look at the companies that have relocated to Ipswich, and most of those are because of Paul Pisasale's energy. People underestimate the number of national companies that are in our back yard now."

One of the earliest occasions NRL boss David Gallop mentioned the next round of expansion was several years ago after a tour of Ipswich with Cr Pisasale.

"He said, 'One thing to remember Paul is that we have got to go where the fish are biting'," Cr Pisasale said.

"Well, the fish are everywhere and jumping all over the place in Ipswich.

"This is a rugby league region. While the city of Ipswich is going to play a major role, we are making it a Western Corridor bid.

"It takes in all the way to Brisbane and out west to Toowoomba and beyond."