Mackay NRL Mania A Huge Plus For CQ NRL Bid
June 21st, 2012
When Bulldogs fullback sensation Ben Barba and Storm centre Dane Neilsen take the field this Sunday at Mackay’s Virgin Australia Stadium they will get an experience that has been very rare for Central Queenslanders. The chance to play an NRL game in their home region in front of family, friends and their most ardent supporters. Central Queensland has produced so many great rugby league players over the years. Wendell Sailor, Martin Bella, Kevin Campion, Brett Dallas, Dale Shearer, Neville Costigan, Daly Cherry-Evans, Josh Hoffman are just a few of the international standard players who have emanated from the Mackay region alone. Despite the absolute abundance of NRL talent from Mackay and the greater Central Queensland region the top-of-the-table clash between the Bulldogs and the Storm is historic as it will be first fully fledged regular season NRL game played in Central Queensland.
The CQ NRL Bid has set about making sure that NRL games are a regular occurrence for arguably the world’s most fanatical rugby league supporters. The man charged with turning the CQ NRL Bid dream into a reality is CEO Denis Keeffe. “I think this weekend’s game will make the rugby league world stand up and take notice if they haven’t already done so. Central Queensland needs an NRL team. The popularity and avidity for rugby league in CQ is unmatched anywhere in else in the world. You’ve only got to look at the ticket sales for this game to see that.” Keeffe said.
The “ticket sales” Keeffe is referring to is the fact that the grandstand at Mackay’s Virgin Australia Stadium sold out within one hour of tickets for the game being made available. The remaining outer seats were snapped up within days, setting the scene for a sell-out crowd of 12,000. This is music to former Cowboys CEO Keeffe;
“I know John Grant (ARLC Chairman) and Shane Mattiske (Interim ARLC CEO) keep abreast of everything happening in the game. As they have shown lately they are very thorough and methodical in their strategic approach for rugby league. The response and success of this game in Mackay will not go unnoticed by those who count.”