ARL Commission chairman Peter V'landys has confirmed the league will move ahead with plans to add a 17th team to the competition in time for the 2023 season.
A decision on the new franchise, which will finally give Brisbane its second NRL team, could be made as early as June, according to V'landys who detailed the developments to the Sydney Morning Herald.
"It's very realistic to say that we'll have a second team in Brisbane in 2023," V'landys said.
"From what I've seen and the presentations that have been given to me, they are well advanced. If I said 2022 they'd be ready. They've been doing work for years. There's no reason why we can't be up and running in 2023.
"The one thing that I am impressed with is how advanced these bids are. They are not mucking around. They are serious. If we came to a decision in June this year, that would give them a year and a half. It's plenty of time. If it's going to happen, it's going to happen mid this year."
The bids vying for the NRL's new opening include the Brisbane Bombers, Brisbane Firehawks (Easts Tigers), Ipswich and Redcliffe Dolphins.
Last year, V'landys and NRL chief Andrew Abdo reportedly travelled to the United States where it is believed they received the blessing for expansion from News Corp co-chairman Lachlan Murdoch, who last year rubber-stamped Foxtel's pay television rights extension until 2027.
While the NRL is still yet to secure a free-to-air television deal beyond 2022, the code believes the addition of a new franchise will be of interest to Nine.
The new team will cost the NRL around $12 million as part of its distribution to all clubs.
Last year, V'landys revealed on Nine's 100% Footy that the league was only interested in expansion if it was in Brisbane.
V'landys said the game's intentions were to avoid "rusted AFL states" and focus on improving the NRL's stranglehold on the Queensland market.
"If there is a 17th team, it will be in Brisbane, no doubt about that," V'landys told Nine's 100% Footy.
"That's where the market is, that's where we are strong. No good spending a lot of money in rusted on AFL states in my view.
"You want to go to the states where you have the nurseries and have the population that loves the game.
"But before we do that, it's got to be a pretty strong business case. You just can't go there without making sure both the Broncos are not affected, and the Titans are not affected.
"We don't want to cannibalise them at all. So, there's a long way to go because it needs to really stack up commercially.
"I like the fact that players can get a bye. That helps their mental well-being, they can always look forward to having that weekend off during the year, so there's that benefit. But it has to stack up commercially."