Katter’s Australian Party MPs have extended an invitation to move North to the 12 southern and overseas NRL teams that will spend the next month playing in Queensland.
Boasting die-hard league fans, Queensland’s newest stadium, the best winter weather on offer in Australia and no active cases of COVID-19, KAP Hinchinbrook MP Nick Dametto said Townsville was an ideal location to host some of the teams.
At the weekend, NRL CEO Andrew Abdo confirmed the relocation of 12 clubs to Queensland due to the escalating COVID-19 crisis in Sydney.
This includes the nine Sydney-based teams, as well as the Raiders, Knights and Warriors who have been based a Terrigal on the Central coast of New South Wales (NSW) for the last 18 months.
It’s understood the 12 teams will be based in three hubs in Brisbane, the Sunshine Coast and the Gold Coast for at least four weeks.
All games scheduled to be played in NSW will be played at either Suncorp Stadium, Cbus Super Stadium or Sunshine Coast Stadium.
However the flashy Queensland Country Bank Stadium in Townsville could be added to that list if the KAP gets its way.
Mr Dametto said while he understood the NRL and its teams were already facing logistical challenges, the North had plenty to offer.
He said the relocation of three or four teams to North Queensland could be a win-win for both the region and the NRL and its players.
“For the North this would almost be like having a State of Origin game locally for at least four weeks in a row,” Mr Dametto.
“There are estimates that this event injected $7 million into our local economy, and it was a much-needed boost for our hospitality, accommodation and tourism sectors.
“We think it would be a no-brainer to keep up that momentum.”
Mr Dametto said teams could train at either the QCB Stadium or the older 1300SMILES Stadium, could be housed at a variety of local accommodation providers and could provide players and their families the best North Queensland had to offer during their down time.
He urged the Premier, and her Government, to raise the offer for the North to host visiting teams during negotiations with the NRL in the coming days.