Denis Keeffe
Denis Keeffe

Forum bid to sway Gallop

LOCAL league fans, players and businesses will be able to pose the big questions when David Gallop visits Bundaberg during his promised tour of the Central Queensland NRL team catchment area in November.

Bundaberg bid team member Peter Hamilton plans to hold a public forum during Gallop's visit, giving the chance for the future stars themselves to ask Gallop the hard questions.

“We plan on showing him how strong our juniors are here and what we can offer,” Hamilton said.

“I hope we can get the community feedback and get that through to Gallop when he is in town.”

Also on the agenda will be the options for a Queensland Cup team in Bundaberg and the opportunity for small business and families to financially back the club.

Meanwhile, bid boss Denis Keeffe has revealed his team has corporate backing from two Australian mining giants, a deal he says will go a long way to winning Gallop over.

Keeffe has secured handshake agreements with the CEOs of the respective mining companies, whom he preferred not to identify at this stage.

It has also emerged that Keeffe has another weapon in his armoury — a “big” national company wants major sponsorship rights on the team's jersey.

“I told them don't expect much change from $2 million – and they said that was all right,” an upbeat Keeffe said.

The former Cowboys boss and his bid members have been busy preparing a three-to-four page “compelling argument” document to present to Gallop when he arrives in Rockhampton.

“You only have one shot at first impressions. Unless your product is bang on from day one, you're always playing catch-up,” he said.

“He (Gallop) has to walk away saying, ‘you got me'.”

Keeffe said with strong corporate backing, a CQ franchise would not be reliant on bid chairman and construction guru Geoff Murphy being “the Clive Palmer or Russell Crowe”.

“The significant involvement of these companies is really, really encouraging,” he said.

Gallop said his tour of Central Queensland could be up to a week.

The NRL boss was recently reported to be talking up Perth for possible expansion of the competition in 2013. The Central Coast, Adelaide, Papua New Guinea and Ipswich are other contenders.

Perth and Adelaide hosted one-off NRL fixtures this season – something CQ could not do without an adequate stadium, Keeffe said.

Premier Anna Bligh and her government have promised to build a stadium in Rockhampton if the NRL awards CQ a licence.

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