Arthur Beetson
Arthur Beetson Bev Lacey

Artie's vision set to live on

ARTHUR Beetson will be remembered for many wonderful things but it is his role as a rugby league visionary that will live on through the Western Corridor NRL bid.

Beetson, whose life was remembered yesterday at a public memorial at Suncorp Stadium, was a prime mover behind the Western Corridor bid.

The rugby league Immortal became a bid ambassador and has written the foreword to the bid document that will be presented to the Australian Rugby League Commission (ARLC) when it calls for tenders for an expanded competition.

Before he passed away, Beetson spoke of the reasons why he supported the Western Corridor bid.

One of the key reasons for his endorsement was the ownership structure. The Western Corridor bid will have blue chip corporate support but Beetson liked the fact that it will be owned by its members.

"It is based on the Green Bay Packers (NFL) set-up and I think that is a terrific concept," Beetson said.

"I'd certainly put my hand up to buy some shares in the club. Just to own a piece of the action is terrific and I'm sure the people out at Ipswich would jump at the chance to own a slice of their local NRL team.

"Everything then goes back into the community and they will have their academies at Ipswich, Toowoomba and Logan. If accepted it will be great for rugby league and a boost for all those centres.

"I totally endorse it and I hope they (the Independent Commission) go with it. They need another club in Brisbane that takes in that area out west."

Beetson, who hailed from Roma, was also passionate about the way the bid provides a pathway for young people in rugby league heartland that are often forgotten.

"Ipswich is a fast growing area and the gateway to the west. I like the fact that the bid goes right out to Toowoomba, Dalby and Roma which is very dear to my heart," Beetson said.

"Sometimes those areas like Ipswich get neglected but there are some great kids out there and further west. As a young Queenslander, all I ever wanted to do was play for Toowoomba coach Duncan Thompson. He was 'el supremo' and many thought the best coach in the world. People of my era know that the Toowoomba Clydesdales were at one time the best rugby league side in the world too. They used to beat all the touring sides.

"Growing up in Roma, I couldn't have told you who Reg Gasnier was but I knew who played for Toowoomba. This bid will go to Roma … and a heap of players like Locky, Wally Fullerton-Smith, Ray Higgs and Willie Carne all came from there."

Western Corridor bid chairman Steve Johnson said it was appropriate that Beetson's vision would live on.

"Arthur became such a passionate supporter of our bid because it combined his own three passions of rugby league, the bush and looking after young people," Johnson said.

"Arthur has written the foreword to our bid which I have recently presented to his sons at a meeting. When our bid is presented to the ARLC, Arthur's vision will permeate it through his foreword. His words were powerfully written and they describe the benefits he saw in the Western Corridor bid and how it will look after young people.

"Arthur formed the view that the benefit of the young kid has to be first and foremost.

"He liked the way we married in the player with educational and vocational pathways.

"We've got a very unique bid in that we allow kids in the bush to stay there and go to university in their own environment and still fulfil their potential in the NRL.

"You can be in Logan or Ipswich and you'll have the academy and educational pathway in your back yard. You don't have to move kids into a strange environment and Arthur was very passionate about that."

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