Dairy Farmers upgrade work on track
North Queensland Cowboys officials are confident redevelopment work expanding the capacity of Dairy Farmers Stadium will be completed in time for the start of the new National Rugby League season.
The redevelopment to the eastern grandstand is expected to increase the stadium's capacity by 3500 to just over 25,000.
Cowboys chief executive officer Peter Parr yesterday said discussions with the Major Sports Facilities Authority had indicated that the stadium would be at its new capacity for the first home game of 2006, against Manly on March 18.
"At this stage all the indications are that we'll be finalised and have everything in by Tuesday the 14th of March," Parr said.
"It's a little bit tight but still gives us three or four days up our sleeve and is good news for us.
"That's always been the plan, to try and get the seats in and everything up and running by the start of the first home game.
"We can't control things like the weather but even at the very worst the majority of the seats will be in."
Parr said the redevelopment involved the installation of 4100 additional seats - in eight bays - in the eastern grandstand.
"We will lose a bit of general admission ticketing because of the extra space we need for the grandstand, but we'll still have 3500 extra people we can fit into the stadium compared to last year, so that's terrific," Parr said.
Parr said the Cowboys had recorded average home crowds of 20,500 en route to reaching last year's grand final.
He was optimistic the stadium's new capacity would be tested in 2006.
"The way the team's played the last couple of years, we'd expect to be able to fill it up," Parr said.
"I think it's good for our regional supporters, people from outside Townsville who travel long distances.
"Quite often we receive phone calls where they're after tickets but we haven't been able to give them an actual seat.
"I hope those people in particular will get some benefit out of it."
Game-by-game tickets to Cowboys home games go on sale next Monday through Tickets Online.
Parr said tickets for the new seating would not go on sale until seats were physically in place.
"As the seats come on line they will become available for sale on a periodic basis (leading up to the first home match)," Parr said.
"After Monday we'll probably have another two dates where we'll sell our seats ... those dates are yet to be decided upon but we'll let the public know through the media and also our website."