Denis Keeffe, Lance Hockridge and Geoff Murphy look forward to a bright future for QR National and rugby league in Central Queensland.
Denis Keeffe, Lance Hockridge and Geoff Murphy look forward to a bright future for QR National and rugby league in Central Queensland. Melinda Siegmeier

Full steam ahead for partnership

QR NATIONAL and the CQ NRL Bid team’s new partnership is a marriage made in heaven, say Lance Hockridge and Geoff Murphy.

The pair yesterday announced QR National was lined up to become the principal sponsor of any future CQ NRL team.

While negotiations for the sponsorship will start after the float of QR National later this year, it is understood the arrangement will deliver a seven-figure-plus deal for the bid team once it gets its NRL licence.

QR National will become a top-50 company on Australia's stock exchange after the float and members of the bid team are delighted to have such a powerful partner on board.

Part of the deal will incorporate shirt sponsorship.

QR limited has wound up its long partnership with the Queensland Reds rugby union club.

Mr Hockridge, QR National's CEO and managing director, said with many QR National workers living in Central Queensland the bid provided a great opportunity for the company to support a team workers could call their own.

“More than 4000 of our 9000 employees nationwide work in this catchment in our coal, freight and network service businesses,” Mr Hockridge said.

“The team will potentially represent one of the biggest geographic areas in any sporting competition in Australia, stretching from Bundaberg in the south, north to Mackay and west to the border.

“This area is rugby league heartland and it is also QR National heartland.”

QR National approached the bid team about four months ago to discuss a partnership.

Mr Murphy, chairman of the CQ push, said the deal took the bid to the next level.

He described yesterday's announcement as one of the region's most exciting days.

With NRL boss David Gallop expected to come for a tour of CQ in November, the announcement couldn't be better timed.

Chief executive Denis Keeffe said it was “a massive” step in the right direction.

“I don't know of any other NRL team with a sponsor that can say they have a company like QR National behind them,” Mr Keeffe said.

Earlier this year the Brisbane Broncos announced a multi-million dollar three-year deal with NRMA.

Big bid

April, 2009: Bid leader Geoff Murphy launches the CQ NRL Bid in Rockhampton.

March, 2010: Queensland Premier Anna Bligh says the NRL would be mad to grant a licence anywhere other than CQ.

April, 2010: Then Prime Minister Kevin Rudd declares himself number one petitioner and promises to attend CQ’s first home game should it be granted a licence.

April, 2010: Denis Keeffe and Geoff Murphy meet with David Gallop in Sydney. Gallop commits to a tour of CQ.

June, 2010: Anna Bligh promises her government would build a 25,000 seat stadium in Rockhampton if the CQ NRL Bid gets the okay from the NRL.



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