The Brisbane Tigers, one of the oldest clubs in Australian rugby league, have launched a bid to become the NRL’s 18th team after opening a new $10m stadium on Wednesday.
Having failed to become the league’s 17th team under the name of the Brisbane Firehawks in 2020, the Langlands Park-based club has renewed its interest in joining the four existing Queensland NRL franchises.
“Our NRL bid will leverage our great club’s 90-year-old history of legendary players and coaches, premierships and Queensland spirit to become the go-to team of Queensland’s fastest growing region,” Tigers CEO Brian Torpy said.
The Australian Rugby League Commission has indicated further expansion of the competition to 18 teams is just a matter of time and could happen as soon as 2027 or 2028.
The club, known as Easts since 1933 before the Brisbane Tigers rebrand in 2020, hope to join fellow south-east Queensland teams the Dolphins, Broncos and Titans in the expanding competition. North Queensland is represented by the Cowboys.
Should the Tigers win the NRL’s 18th licence, another change of name would be likely needed, to avoid a clash with the existing Wests Tigers.
The Tigers’ bid chair, Shane Edwards, pointed to the initial success of the Dolphins, who are competing in their debut season this year, as reason to believe his club can step up and join the country’s premier rugby league competition.
“With the strong attendance and audience figures we are seeing the Dolphins achieve in their debut year, we believe the Brisbane Tigers can provide a similar stimulus in the south-west corridor that takes in the Logan and Ipswich regions,” Edwards said.
“If successful in becoming the 18th NRL team, our goal is to be the go-to club for sports fans on Brisbane’s south side and western corridor and the millions of casual fans between the ages of 18 to 34 who do not currently support the Broncos, Dolphins or Titans.”
The Tigers’ new Totally Workwear Stadium was unveiled on Wednesday by Queensland’s tourism and sport minister, Stirling Hinchliffe, and rugby league great Des Morris, who opened his namesake grandstand.
The redevelopment, to which the Queensland government contributed $1.1m, features a high performance and community centre and was hailed as “one of Australia’s best boutique, gender-inclusive rugby league stadiums”.
“The change rooms and gymnasium are female-participant compliant and will encourage more women to play rugby league, providing more inclusive pathways to our BMD Premiership team,” Torpy said.