NRL chief executive Dave Smith has given impetus to the bid for a new local team.
NRL chief executive Dave Smith has given impetus to the bid for a new local team. Damian Shaw

NRL chief: Growth of game is on the table

THE Western Corridor NRL bid remains in play after NRL chief executive David Smith said expansion of the competition was back on the table.

Mr Smith told Queensland Rugby League annual conference delegates that "expansion is definitely something I want to see" and added that it needed to be reconsidered sooner rather than later.

His words were music to the ears of Western Corridor NRL bid boss Steve Johnson.

Expansion seemed to be on the backburner late last year when the Australian Rugby League Commission announced the new broadcast rights, which had made no allowance for extra teams.

"David is saying that the game needs to expand, which is a lot stronger that commission chairman John Grant's previous statement that expansion was a low priority and would be considered loosely at the end of 2014," Mr Johnson said.

"It is a big step forward. I would like to think he made comments after considering the whole of the game and commission's view."

Mr Johnson has received calls from key figures within the game in recent weeks telling him to keep plugging away with his bid and that expansion "isn't dead and buried".

"It is just a question of when it will occur," he said.

"I have sent an email to the NRL asking them what they require from us at this point of time.

"But when the game expands, we will be ready to be part of it."

Federal Member for Blair Shayne Neumann, who has supported the Western Corridor bid in Parliament, said it was time the region had a team. He had one message for the NRL.

"Stop giving us the flick and give us the tick," he said.