THE AFL is set to target the western corridor with Springfield now the front-runner in the race to be the new home base of the Brisbane Lions.
The Satellite understands Springfield and the QEII complex at Nathan are the only two options being seriously considered as headquarters for the Lions.
The club will continue to play at the Gabba, but one well-placed source said that Springfield was now the favoured location for its training and administration facilities.
And Springfield Land Corporation has now handed a six-hectare parcel of land on Springfield Parkway to the Ipswich City Council for the purpose of developing the sporting complex.
The site is within 300m of the Springfield Central railway station now under construction.
The council's planning chairman, Councillor Paul Tully, and recreation chairman, Councillor David Morrison, have also already toured AFL facilities in Melbourne with a view to replicating an elite AFL training and community base in Springfield.
Cr Tully travelled to Melbourne with representatives of the Springfield Land Corporation and met AFL Queensland CEO Mick Conlon. They inspected the training centres of clubs such as Geelong, Hawthorn and North Melbourne.
"Our trip was with a view to enticing the Lions to Springfield to base a major training facility there," Cr Tully said.
"We were looking at the range of facilities of various AFL clubs in terms of their training needs and how those sorts of facilities could be replicated in Springfield.
"To be able to bring the Lions to the western corridor would be great for the city of Ipswich and the western corridor area right out to Ripley."
Brisbane Lions general manager of communications Dave Donaghy said the club was still working through submissions and wouldn't be rushed into a decision.
"We are still working through the process," he said.
"We haven't made any decisions about the location of a future training base but Springfield is certainly still in the mix."
Ipswich Mayor Paul Pisasale said the council was determined to strike a deal with the AFL club.
"We are very serious," Cr Pisasale said. "If the Lions understand the growth of the western corridor then they will come where the fish are biting. It is going to be much better for them to be involved in Ipswich than in Brisbane."
Cr Morrison likened the Springfield site to the development of Carrara on the Gold Coast, suggesting it may one day be an additional top-level sporting stadium for south-east Queensland.
"I may not be around to see it because it all depends on demand," he said. "If we didn't leave the planning potential for that now we would be robbing future generations."
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