Fans split over Cowboys’ hopes of play­ing NRL game in Cairns

Look­ing to lasso new fans

Townsville Bulletin - - NEWS - LIAM BUT­TER­WORTH CHRIS McMA­HON

NORTH Queens­land Cowboys chief ex­ec­u­tive Greg Ton­ner has con­firmed the club is in­ves­ti­gat­ing ways to play an NRL premier­ship game in Cairns, but re­ac­tion to the sug­ges­tion has been split.

Mr Ton­ner has vis­ited Cairns twice in the past fort­night as part of a sweep­ing tour of North Queens­land and has been speak­ing to state, city and com­mu­nity of­fi­cials in the Far North about pos­si­bly mov­ing a Mon­day night home game from Townsville to Cairns.

“We want to con­nect and the feel­ing ev­ery­where is that they would like more con­nec­tion,” he said. “I want to do that be­cause it’s very im­por­tant to bring ev­ery­one to­gether be- cause we’re the ‘ North Queens­land’ Cowboys.”

Re­ac­tion to the sug­ges­tion of a move was split among Townsville Bul­letin read­ers on Face­book yesterday.

“Why not? They are the North Queens­land Cowboys! I drive 350km to use my sea­son ticket!” Zoe Simp­son wrote.

“No, they can travel down here, if you let them have a game, then you will have to let Mackay, Rocky, Bundy and all the other towns that sup­port the Cowboys have a game!” Ron Wha­lan wrote.

Mr Ton­ner ac­knowl­edged there were many con­sid­er­a­tions in­volv­ing the club’s com­mit­ments in Townsville be­fore the fix­ture was close to be­ing made of­fi­cial.

They in­cluded the cost of mov­ing the broad­cast to Cairns, the com­mer­cial im­pact from cor­po­rate, mem­ber and fan sup­port in Townsville, the in­fra­struc­ture costs at Bar­low Park and the lo­gis­tics of mov­ing the en­tire Cowboys op­er­a­tion in­clud­ing mas­cots, cheer­lead­ers and staff.

South Syd­ney has taken home games to Cairns’ Bar­low Park the last three years, in­clud­ing a Round 8 clash against the Raiders this year, but that con­tract has run out and the Cowboys have asked the NRL that any other fix­tures that take place in their home re­gion in­volve the North Queens­land side.

Mr Ton­ner said that meant the club needed to ei­ther move one of its 12 home games to the 18,000- ca­pac­ity Bar­low Park, likely a Mon­day night fix­ture, or con­vince a ri­val club to bring a game up to the Far North to play the Cowboys.

The Cowboys are not com­plete strangers to Cairns, hav­ing played there 11 times in the last 13 years, mostly pre- sea­son fix­tures, but played two NRL games at Cazaly’s Sta­dium in 2001 for crowds of 13,000 and 6113.

MU­TUAL IN­TER­EST: Cowboys boss Greg Ton­ner and ( be­low)

with Trea­surer Curtis Pitt in Cairns this week.

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