The North Queensland Toyota Cowboys announced they will host the Sydney Roosters in a pre-season trial match in Mackay next year.
The trial will be played at BB Print Stadium, home of Cowboys Intrust Super Cup feeder team the QCCS Mackay Cutters on Saturday, February 11.
It will be preceded by a clash between the new-look Cutters team and the Cowboys’ Under 20s side that will contest the 2017 National Youth Competition.
The Mackay Cutters are now coached by former Cowboys Under 20s assistant coach Steve Sheppard.
In announcing confirmation of the trial, Cutters CEO Troy Rovelli acknowledged the work of the Mackay Regional Council in their role in bringing such a high-profile game to the North Queensland city.
“The council have been terrific every step of the way, and we can’t thank them enough for the role they’ve played in making this match possible,” Mr Rovelli said.
“We know the people of Mackay love the Cowboys, they’ll embrace this match and we look forward to packing out our stadium come February 11.”
Cowboys assistant coach Josh Hannay and Mackay Cutters CEO Troy Rovelli.
Mackay Mayor Greg Williamson said it was exciting the Cowboys were returning to Mackay for a pre-season NRL trial.
“The last time they were in town was on their whistle-stop tour of Mackay, Mount Isa and Cairns last year after winning the NRL premiership and there was a huge turnout to welcome them,” Cr Williamson said.
“The Cowboys certainly have plenty of fans in our region and it's fantastic they’ll get to see them in action against another NRL team at BB Print Stadium Mackay.
“We’ve helped secure this game through our Invest Mackay Events and Conference Attraction program as it will provide an economic boost for the region.
“This will be the first NRL pre-season trial game the Cowboys have played in Mackay since they took on the Broncos at the start of 2015.”
The match will mark the 13th time the Cowboys have taken a game to Mackay in the past 16 seasons.
Cowboys CEO Greg Tonner said the Cowboys were deeply committed to engaging with members and fans across the whole of the club’s footprint, with the February 11 trial match the perfect way to connect with Mackay and surrounds.
“Mackay is true rugby league heartland and a true Cowboys heartland. We can’t wait to get down there and play these two matches in February.
“We all remember those memorable scenes at Bluewater Quay a year ago when we were able to share our premiership success with our valued supporters.
“It was a truly special moment and I know we’ll create more of these treasured memories on February 11.”
Ticketing information for the match will be released at a later date.