Footy fans will have double the reason to book a North Queensland holiday next month, with the Queensland Reds and North Queensland Cowboys both hosting New Zealand opposition at Townsville’s Queensland Country Bank Stadium at the end of May.
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk today announced the government had secured the Reds’ trans-Tasman Super Rugby clash against the Waikato-based Chiefs to be played in Townsville on 29 May - the day after the Cowboys’ clash against the New Zealand Warriors.
“Major events pump millions of dollars into the economy and support local businesses and jobs,” the Premier said.
“We’re working hard to secure events like this to drive our economic recovery efforts in North Queensland.
“If you’re a footy fan – Townsville is the place to be on the weekend of May 29.
“Having the Chiefs play the top-of-the-table Reds on the Saturday night with the Cowboys versus Warriors game on the Friday will create a festival of footy in Townsville.
“With the trans-Tasman bubble up and running, today’s announcement couldn’t come at a better time.
“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.”
The fixture is one of many secured by the Palaszczuk Government as part of the state’s COVID-19 economic recovery plan.
Tourism Minister Stirling Hinchliffe encouraged Queenslanders and New Zealanders to make the most of the double-header in Townsville next month.
“Townsville will be buzzing on the last weekend of May with a feast of footy at Queensland Country Bank Stadium,” Mr Hinchliffe said.
“By securing the Queensland Reds’ Trans-Tasman clash against the Waikato-based Chiefs for the day after the North Queensland Cowboys’ game against the Warriors, we’ve created the ideal North Queensland weekend getaway for football fans.
“This is a unique chance to see both codes in action against the Kiwis at a world-class stadium in the heart of North Queensland.
“With the Australia and New Zealand travel bubble, this Kiwi double-header is a great opportunity for New Zealanders to cross the ditch for a world-class Queensland holiday.”
Resources Minister and Member for Townsville Scott Stewart said the Chiefs and Reds blockbuster would pump around $1.9 million into the local 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.
“Tourism and sport are an important part of our plan for economic recovery.
“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 hosting the Reds v Chiefs game next month demonstrated the ongoing efforts to attract high-quality events to the stadium.
“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.
“Hosting the Reds and Chiefs is another feather in our cap. Being a community that loves its sport, I’m sure we will see thousands of rugby union supporters enjoying two powerhouse teams play.
“We will continue to work with our partners to attract even more events. Big-ticket events are great news for our local economy. With the New Zealand travel bubble now open, I’m sure plenty of Chiefs supporters will take the opportunity to travel to Townsville to cheer-on their team and enjoy everything our city and region has to offer. That means business for our hotels, restaurants and tourism operators.”
Reds coach Brad Thorn said his team was excited to bring a Super Rugby match to Townsville for the first time in 15 years.
“We want Townsville’s stadium to be our North Queensland cauldron,” he said.
“The Reds represent the entire state. It’s very important for us to play in front of our fans in North Queensland.
“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,” Thorn said.
Queensland Rugby Union chief executive officer David Hanham said the match was the first stage of the QRU’s long-term strategy for North Queensland.
“We want to be bringing more matches to Townsville and North Queensland – Super Rugby games, Wallabies Tests and elite Sevens tournaments,” he said.
“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.
“We want to particularly thank the Palaszczuk Government, Tourism and Events Queensland and Townsville City Council for their enthusiastic support of this great weekend for the city and the North.”
Queensland Country Bank Stadium Venue Manager Tom Kimball said he hoped the event would be well supported by fans.
“We’re looking forward to an action-packed weekend of footy with a distinct NZ flavour, which makes it the ideal weekend for passionate fans to make the trip North or with the recently opened travel bubble, to jump across the ditch and enjoy some beautiful North Queensland winter weather,” Mr Kimball said.
“Stadiums Queensland and our key partners (TEQ, TCC and TEL) are working really hard to secure a range of different entertainment for the venue so we’re really excited to be delivering for our North Queensland rugby union fans, and we know a fierce rivalry like this gets the crowd going for a really fantastic atmosphere.”