An all-Queensland NRL pre-season match has been locked in for Sunshine Coast Stadium with the North Queensland Cowboys to play the Gold Coast Titans on Saturday, February 23.
It will be the first time the Cowboys, the 2015 NRL premiers, have played on the Sunshine Coast, while the Titans are returning to the region after taking on the New Zealand Warriors earlier this year.
The pre-season match announcement by Mayor Mark Jamieson today (November 12) comes on the back of Sunshine Coast Council’s three-year partnership with the South Sydney Rabbitohs which will see official NRL matches for premiership points played at Sunshine Coast Stadium in 2019, 2020 and 2021.
The first game of the new agreement will feature the Rabbitohs against the Warriors on April 13.
“This is a great time to be a rugby league fan on the Sunshine Coast,” Mayor Jamieson said.
“A pre-season game in February between two Queensland clubs as a precursor to a NRL fixture match in April makes for a special couple of afternoons at our stadium in 2019.
“We’re delighted the Cowboys have accepted our invitation and will play on the Sunshine Coast for the first time.
“To have them go up against another Queensland club in the Titans as they prepare for the new season will be an added bonus.
“I know both clubs are looking forward to meeting their members and fans on the Sunshine Coast and we’ll have the welcome mat rolled out to give them a warm welcome to our healthy, smart, creative region.”
The Cowboys will hold an open training session at the stadium on Friday afternoon, February 22 and also plan on visiting local schools and hospitals.
Cowboys acting CEO Jeff Reibel said the club looked forward to its first visit to the Sunshine Coast.
“We are delighted to be playing both our 2019 trial games in Queensland and for this particular game against another Queensland team,” Mr Reibel said.
“Our club has a healthy rivalry with the Gold Coast Titans and we look forward to adding another chapter on the Sunshine Coast next year.
“We are fortunate enough to have an extremely strong supporter base at home in North Queensland, but we are also aware we have a huge following throughout the whole of Queensland, which is why we are so excited to be playing a trial in a large regional base like the Sunshine Coast in 2019.”
Titans coach Garth Brennan said: “We spent a few days on the Sunshine Coast last year and had an enjoyable time in the region.
“The weather wasn’t too kind for our match against the Warriors last year but the facility was of a high standard and the local community love their footy.
“The pre-season is always long and this will be our first hit-out so I’m sure the guys will be looking forward to playing a game of footy.”
Kickoff for the February 23 clash is scheduled for 5pm.
The curtain-raiser clash will feature the Sunshine Coast Falcons’ Intrust Super Cup squad.
Tickets will go on sale in the New Year.