Bring the Broncos to the Fraser Coast

THERE is no reason why Fraser Coast couldn't host a future NRL game.

A day after the Fraser Coast Chronicle exclusively revealed Brisbane Broncos would play North Queensland Cowboys at Bundaberg's Salter Oval, supporters and officials have pondered what it would take for Fraser Coast to host a similar fixture.

According to Hervey Bay Seagulls president Nathan McGrath, the club has considered hosting trial games.

He said the standard of Stafford Park's facilities required an upgrade before it could be made a reality, but with plans to improve the ground's dressing sheds this year, McGrath said they could handle such a fixture.

Events councillor Darren Everard said Fraser Coast Regional Council would look at ways to be involved with the trial, which may include providing transport.

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When asked if Fraser Coast could host NRL games, he said the current grounds would need vast upgrades.

"We'd need the ground to be in a much better condition and lighting would have to be upgraded," he said.

"We'll support Bundaberg.

"When they hosted the air show people would stay at Hervey Bay and travel and there's no reason why they won't do it again."

COUP: Bundaberg’s deputy mayor David Batt, Bundaberg Junior Rugby League president Jack Dempsey, Bundaberg Rugby League chairman Mike Ireland and Queensland Rugby League central division operations manager Dave Pearce.
COUP: Bundaberg’s deputy mayor David Batt, Bundaberg Junior Rugby League president Jack Dempsey, Bundaberg Rugby League chairman Mike Ireland and Queensland Rugby League central division operations manager Dave Pearce. Max Fleet

McGrath revealed the Seagulls had pursued hosting either Intrust Super Cup trials or a Country Week fixture, which Bundaberg's Salter Oval did earlier this year.

"I don't think we're too far from that, but our lights obviously also need to be upgraded before then," he said.

"We're chasing those opportunities. Hervey Bay is attractive to the QRL - ease of access, accommodation and facilities - and we'd have to get temporary grandstands and that infrastructure."

Central Division Operations Manager Dave Pearce said the February 6 trial, which will be the NRL grand finalists only game before they travel to the UK for the World Club Challenge, was huge for the Wide Bay.

Pearce said he was assured the clubs' marquee players would be involved in both the game and other activities.

The Cowboys will run an open training session on Friday, February 5, and there are plans for both Bundaberg's and Fraser Coast's juniors to learn from their heroes in a series of clinics.

The Broncos are understood to be travelling to Bundaberg via Central and South Burnett, and may also run an open session.

Bundaberg Rugby League chairman Mike Ireland, who described the game as the biggest sporting event for the region in more than 20 years, said clubs would have the opportunity to help with the event's organisation.

It is understood those clubs would have the first opportunity to join the teams for clinics and training camps.

"I don't think some people have realised just how big this will be," Ireland said.

The February 6 trial will start at 6.30pm.

TICKETS

AS SOON as APN broke the story our social media pages were inundated with questions about how fans can get tickets.

BRL chairman Mike Ireland said he would work with the NRL and the Brisbane Broncos to set prices. Information will be released as it comes to hand, but all tickets will be pre-sold.

They are expected to be made available from mid-November, and will be for sale at the BRL's Salter Oval headquarters.

Ireland said they would work on a solution for fans outside the Bundaberg region.

You'll have to be quick though: organisers are expecting a crowd of more than 12,000 people.



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