Rockhampton's first NRL game could kick off in August
THE Gold Coast Titans could tackle the Dragons in the first NRL game to be played in Rockhampton.
Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk yesterday announced her government's in-principle support for the game to be held in August.
While she agreed there was still some work to done on the proposal, she was confident it would happen, describing it as a major coup for Central Queensland.
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"The event will not only rally the community on an emotional level but there will be economic benefits too," she said.
Just who will play and the date of the game are yet to be confirmed by the NRL, but speculation is growing that the match will involve the Titans.
Rockhampton construction magnate Geoff Murphy, who is also the chairman of the CQ NRL Bid, recently expressed an interest in buying a stake in the Titans with a view to having some home games played here.
The Titans have home games against the Eels in Round 21 (July 31-August 3), the Raiders in Round 24 (August 20-24) and the Dragons in Round 25 (August 27-31).
Mr Murphy and the Premier were both tight-lipped about which teams would play, instead focusing on the significance of the event for the region in the wake of Cyclone Marcia.
"I firmly believe that delivering this football game here in August will help build the community spirit," Ms Palaszczuk.
"We expect it to be packed out here, over 8000 people, and it'll be a great match for all the families to come and see."
Mr Murphy has been campaigning for five years to have an NRL franchise established in CQ. He said yesterday's announcement was an important step forward.
"It's very exciting for Rockhampton and Central Queensland to be able to stage this sort of an event here for the first time ever," he said.
"It's going to lift the spirits of Central Queensland people after the hectic time we've had in the last four or five years; we've not only had a cyclone but we've had two major floods as well.
"I think the excitement that this will bring to the area will be enormous."
Mr Murphy expects game details to be announced within the next week.