Falcons are very close to making a deal
THE stricken Sunshine Coast is in the midst of "deep negotiations" with an NRL club and it's hoped there will be an announcement regarding a possible affiliation in the next week.
The Bokarina-based side was a powerhouse in the Queensland Cup when it had a feeder club relationship with Manly but since their split in late 2010, the Falcons have been perennial battlers.
It is now on a state league record 35-match losing sequence that has sorely tested the patience of the local rugby league community.
But there are promising signs.
"We're hopeful there's something positive in the pipeline," chairman Ashley Robinson said.
"We're in deep negotiations with an NRL club and we're hopeful that it's going to work out."
All other state league sides, with the exception of the PNG Hunters, have ties with NRL clubs, which allow them to utilise the NRL outfit's fringe players.
While the Falcons have held preliminary talks with the Bulldogs and the Storm this year, the only thing to arise from those meetings so far is a deal that gives the Falcons access to Melbourne under-20s players who are not playing in the National Youth League.
But Sunshine Coast officials have ramped up their dialogue with one NRL club - which it will not yet reveal - and it's believed they are close to forging a link.
"We're working away diligently to try and do a deal with an NRL club and it is looking hopeful," Robinson said.
"We'll know more in the next week or so but all parties (the Falcons, the NRL club and the Queensland Rugby League) are trying to get an outcome that will be great for this area."
Robinson said his club must have ties with an NRL unit to be competitive but was quick to suggest the Sunshine Coast would keep its identity if a deal was done.
"At this stage, we know we need a link," he said.
"But the good thing is, (the way talks are going) it's always going to be the Falcons.
"We're not going to be changing any names if we manage to get past this next hurdle, which is great, but there's still a lot of work to do before anything is in writing."