Townsville scores a Trans-Tasman footy blockbuster

The Townsville Bulletin can reveal Queensland Country Bank Stadium will host both the New Zealand Warriors and the Waikato Chiefs in a action-packed weekend of footy. On Friday, May 28 the North Queensland Cowboys will take on the Warriors, and on Saturday, the Queensland Reds will do battle with the Chiefs in a trans-Tasman Super Rugby clash. It will be the first Super Rugby match played in Townsville in 15 years. The game is the first part of Queensland Rugby Union’s long-term strategy for North Queensland. The double-header will give footy fans another reason to visit North Queensland at the end of May..“Major events pump millions of dollars into the economy and support local businesses and local jobs,” Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said.“We’re working hard to secure events like this to drive our economic recovery efforts in North Queensland.“I’m calling on all Kiwi footy fans to book a holiday in North Queensland in May. Come, watch the footy and escape the cold.”Townsville MP Scott Stewart said the rugby blockbuster would pump $1.9m into the North Queensland economy. “This is exactly why I lobbied so hard for a new, world-class stadium in North Queensland – to secure international sporting events that benefit local businesses,” he said.“We’re working closely with the Reds and Townsville City Council to really make the most of the weekend and create a footy festival atmosphere in the North.“Events continue to play a vital role in our state’s COVID-19 economic recovery and we expect the Reds’ trans-Tasman match to draw 4000 visitors to Townsville. This will deliver a great shot in the arm for our tourism industry.”Townsville Mayor Jenny Hill said the new stadium continued to attract high-quality events to the city. “The investment in the stadium is paying dividends for our city and region. In addition to Cowboys home games, our world-class stadium has already hosted blockbuster events such as Elton John, the Jeff Horn/Tim Tszyu fight and NRL All Stars game, and we’re looking forward to Kiss in December,” Cr Hill said.Queensland Rugby Union chief executive David Hanham said the organisation would bring more Super Rugby games, Wallabies Tests and elite Sevens tournaments to Townsville and North Queensland. “Rugby is booming in North Queensland and we want to continue to grow the game by exposing our local club players and fans to some of the best rugby in the world,” Mr Hanham said. “We want to particularly thank the Palaszczuk government, Tourism and Events Queensland and Townsville City Council for their enthusiastic support of this great weekend.”Coach Brad Thorn said the Reds wanted the new stadium to be their North Queensland cauldron. “The Reds represent the entire state. It’s very important for us to play in front of our fans in North Queensland,” he said. “You’ve seen all the positives from our Reds to Regions visits. This game will be another way to continue our connection with regional Queensland communities.”

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