Whit­sun­day wel­come for NQ of­fi­cials

Whitsunday Times - - SPORT - Gre­gor Mactaggart Gre­[email protected] whit­sun­day­times.com.au

RUGBY LEAGUE: North Queens­land Cow­boys act­ing chief ex­ec­u­tive Jeff Reibel has made his first visit to the Whit­sun­days re­gion since tak­ing on the top job.

Reibel as­sumed the po­si­tion fol­low­ing the res­ig­na­tion of Greg Ton­ner in Septem­ber, step­ping up from the role of chief com­mer­cial of­fi­cer.

He was joined on the tour by for­mer player and act­ing chief op­er­at­ing of­fi­cer Micheal Luck along with head of com­mer­cial part­ner­ships Ross Aldridge.

“We’ve had some re­cent changes to the struc­ture, so this visit has been about get­ting to the ma­jor towns and meet­ing with key stake­hold­ers,” Reibel told the Whit­sun­day Times.

“We’ve been in Bowen, vis­it­ing the Whit­sun­days where we’ve met with Mayor An­drew Will­cox and Robert Filby from Filby’s Mo­tors, and then head­ing to Mackay.”

Reibel is no stranger to the re­gion, hav­ing grown up in Bowen and has en­joyed a lengthy ca­reer in sports ad­min­is­tra­tion.

He spent seven years as sales and mar­ket­ing man­ager at the Cow­boys be­fore mov­ing to the Gold Coast Ti­tans as head of spon­sor­ship.

Reibel made the tran­si­tion to the Su­per­cars scene as gen­eral man­ager – com­mer­cial for Ere­bus Mo­tor­sport be­fore re­turn­ing to the Cow­boys in 2015.

“It’s been re­ward­ing (the CEO role),” he said.

“Our club is for­tu­nate with the qual­ity of peo­ple that work within it, you would go a long way to find bet­ter spe­cial­ists.

“Work­ing with the chair­man, our di­rec­tor of footy on a daily ba­sis has made it a smooth tran­si­tion for me.” Reibel’s as­cen­sion to the top job comes in a time of tran­si­tion for North Queens­land fol­low­ing the re­tire­ment of Johnathan Thurston and move to a new ground in the heart of Townsville in time for the 2020 sea­son.

“There’s no doubt that this next short pe­riod of time is prob­a­bly the most piv­otal to the club’s fu­ture since 1995,” he said.

“We say good­bye to our cur­rent sta­dium and move the new sta­dium which will be a great plat­form for our fu­ture.

“We’re also build­ing a footy team with­out J Thurston for the first time since 2005.

“Peter Parr and Paul Green have done a fan­tas­tic job, there’s guys who have gone through our devel­op­ment pro­gram such as Michael Mor­gan and Jake Clif­ford.

“Then you throw in the sign­ings such as Ben Barba, which is mas­sive, Nene Mac­don­ald, a Cairns boy, and Josh McGuire, then con­sider the likes of Matt Scott and Gavin Cooper still play­ing, we’ve got the nu­cleus of a good squad in 2019.”

Reibel said the part­ner­ship with the Mackay Cut­ters as a feeder club for the Cow­boys was im­por­tant, es­pe­cially as a spring­board for Whit­sun­day rugby league tal­ents.

“I be­lieve in con­junc­tion with our feeder teams in Mackay, Townsville and Cairns we have a real op­por­tu­nity to iden­tify and keep our tal­ent in North Queens­land,” he said.

“The role the Cut­ters play for us is im­por­tant, not just in our first graders go­ing back to play for the Cut­ters, but the devel­op­ment role the club plays in Un­der-16, Un­der-18, Un­der-20 and Queens­land Cup.

“It is an im­por­tant path­way.”

PHOTO: GRE­GOR MACTAGGART

MEET­ING: North Queens­land Cow­boys of­fi­cials Ross Aldridge, Micheal Luck and Jeff Reibel met with Robert Filby (Filby's Mo­tors) and Whit­sun­day Re­gional Coun­cil Mayor An­drew Will­cox at La Ta­bella in Air­lie Beach on Mon­day.

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