Fans split over Cowboys’ hopes of playing NRL game in Cairns
Looking to lasso new fans
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.