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New Cowboys stadium a step closer

FAN FAVOURITE: Johnathan Thurston acknowledges his fans after the Round 13 NRL match between the North Queensland Cowboys and the Newcastle Knights at 1300SMILES Stadium in Townsville.
FAN FAVOURITE: Johnathan Thurston acknowledges his fans after the Round 13 NRL match between the North Queensland Cowboys and the Newcastle Knights at 1300SMILES Stadium in Townsville. MICHAEL CHAMBERS

THEY got the premiership they were after in 2015, and now in 2016, the North Queensland Cowboys have received the other good news they were desperately seeking.

A new stadium will be delivered for Cowboys fans following the commitment of $100 million towards the project by the Federal Government today.

NRL chief executive Todd Greenberg said the funding – along with a commitment of $140 million from the State Government and $10 million from the game – would give North Queensland sports fans the facilities they deserve.

"This is terrific news not just for Townsville, but for all of North Queensland," Greenberg said.

"A new stadium will deliver 1650 jobs for the city at a time of need and it will be the cornerstone of a new entertainment precinct in the city.

"So not only will our fans benefit from a better experience in a new stadium, but the people of northern Queensland will benefit from new jobs and an influx of cash into the local economy.

"It’s terrific that all sides of politics and all levels of government have now made the funding commitments needed to make a new Townsville stadium a reality."

Greenberg said the next step was for all levels of government to work on a schedule to deliver the new stadium.

North Queensland chairman Laurence Lancini previously flagged a bleak future for the Cowboys without a new stadium.

The Cowboys play their NRL home games at 1300SMILES Stadium, a former multi-sports complex and greyhound track that was converted into a rugby league ground when the Cowboys joined the then-ARL competition in 1995.

The ground is about half an hour’s drive from Townsville’s CBD and has no public transport connections.

"Over the past 20 years our stadium has been great, but now it is deficient of all the things we need to maintain our status as a premier NRL club," Lancini said recently.

"If we don’t get the funding for a new stadium, and we have to refurbish the existing stadium, we would have to find somewhere else to play for two seasons which means we would not have a business.

"The likelihood of the Cowboys surviving in the longer term, unless we get a new facility, would be very difficult."

Topics:  north queensland cowboys nrl todd greenberg


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