STICKING SOLID AGAINST SYDNEY SMEAR
CITY LEADERS SAY ‘ HANDS OFF OUR COWBOYS’
TOWNSVILLE leaders have voiced their support for the North Queensland Cowboys after allegations 10 high- profile players wrongly acquired properties from club chairman Laurence Lancini.
The NRL cleared the club of the claims, aired on Tuesday by Sydney media, and will not investigate further unless more information comes to light.
Mayor Jenny Hill said many North Queenslanders would have taken the accusations personally because of their deep connection with the Townsville- based club.
“In this city when they insult the Cowboys it’s not just Townsville, it’s Mackay, Cairns and the Cape and everywhere out west, because this is our team,” she said.
“This is a community that supports the footy players and the footy players have a strong link to the community.
“This is a community that can manage more than 14,000 people turning up for a game on a Monday night.
“There would be more people attending a 50th birthday party than some of these Sydney clubs’ games.”
Townsville MP Scott Stewart questioned whether it was conspiracy from Sydney interests to thwart the club’s premiership chances.
“It just seems to be another conspiracy for the Cowboys, doesn’t it?” he said. “I’m happy the NRL have done a thorough investigation and that the league is satisfied.’’
Mr Lancini said the club was satisfied all the property transactions between companies connected to him and the players were within NRL guidelines.
“There’s no question to be answered as they were all done on a commercial basis with no inducement ( to sign a contract),” he said.
A total of 10 highprofile Cowboys stars – including Johnathan Thurston, Matt Scott and James Tamou – bought properties from companies connected to Mr Lancini.
A search of property records shows seven players who bought blocks in the Bohle Plains on average paid higher than the median price in the area.
A newspaper claimed the deals raised questions as to whether they constituted salary cap breaches.
Several of the property transactions were cleared by NRL auditors in 2010 and the league said no further action was required.
SUPPORT ONLY STRONGER: Mayor Jenny Hill shows
her Cowboys colours and ( left) the Bulletin’s front