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Monday, 31 May 2004
Page: 29491

Mr TICEHURST (1:48 PM) —On behalf of the Central Coast community, I make a final plea to the NRL for a Central Coast based rugby league team. The NRL must realise that the Central Coast deserves a team of its own. We have the population, we have the support and we have the combined federal-state funded $30 million Central Coast stadium. The passion and support for the NRL on the coast is second to none. Chris Newman, a 17-year-old student in my electorate of Dobell put forward the case for a Central Coast based team in a letter to the editor of our local paper. He stated:

... We already have a beautiful stadium, which is regarded as one of the best in Australia. We have our own teams in the New South Wales rugby league comps and we have a large number of juniors.

The NRL is always saying it needs to get out to country areas and encourage rugby league. Well remember, the coast is still regarded as a country area and has one of the largest number of juniors.

Please consider all of this—

he pleads.

The Central Coast boasts one of the largest and most valuable football fan bases in the country. One only had to visit the stadium during the Rugby World Cup to see the massive support that was shown. Around 57,000 people flocked to the stadium for the World Cup. Independent research shows the Central Coast has a population of fans who attend more matches and watch more games on television than fans in other areas. It also shows that the combined population of the Central Coast and the North Shore is larger than that of the rival bidder, the Gold Coast. The Central Coast plainly deserves its own NRL team. I hope the NRL takes into account the passion and steadfast dedication of Central Coast fans when making its final decision. (Time expired)