World Cup action for Skilled Park
Rugby League World Cup organisers have thrown a huge vote of support behind the Gold Coast's soon to be completed Skilled Park by scheduling two key games at the State Government owned venue.
Sport Minister Judy Spence and Australian Rugby League Chief Executive Geoff Carr announced Skilled Park will host a pool game between New Zealand and Papua New Guinea on Saturday November 1 and on Monday November 10, the winners of pools Two and Three will play for a Semi Final berth.
Ms Spence said hosting two Rugby League World Cup matches, including a Qualifying Final, along with the Titans home games in its inaugural year is a great result for Skilled Park and league fans on the Gold Coast.
"Construction of the $160 million 25,000 seat Skilled Park is on time and on budget and is scheduled to be completed prior to the commencement of the 2008 NRL season," Ms Spence said.
"Skilled Park will provide players and spectators of all codes with a great venue experience."
Kiwi Test players Benji Marshall and Bronson Harrison joined Ms Spence and Mr Carr for the official launch of the Gold Coast schedule.
Marshall summed up the sentiment that was building around the World Cup.
"I think all the nations see this as a real chance to show how far we have come in recent years.
"You only have to watch the Titans to see how much people love their Rugby League on the Gold Coast and by looking around Skilled Park you can tell it's going to be a great atmosphere for everyone.
"PNG can certainly provide a real challenge on their day and that is a match that we won't be taking lightly."
Ms Spence said the decision to play two games at Skilled Park ensures that Queensland has secured seven of the tournament's 18 matches, including the final at Suncorp Stadium on November 22.
"The number of games World Cup organisers have allocated to Queensland is a reflection the strong support for Rugby League in Queensland."
"World Cup organisers have chosen state of the art venues in Suncorp Stadium and Skilled Park and they will in turn showcase Queensland to an international audience.
"For Queensland this means fans will come for the game, stay for a holiday and the whole State benefits, this means jobs and a business bonanza in accommodation, business services, transport, retail and trade sectors."
"I have no doubt that Queensland fans will get behind the World Cup with the same sort of passion that sustains three Telstra Premiership teams and the mighty maroons in State of Origin.
Australian Rugby League Chief Executive Geoff Carr said the qualifying final at Skilled Park would be one of enormous significance to the World Cup.
"The competition among countries for the last semi final berth will be extraordinary.
"It is a match that will say a lot about the gains being made in the international game."
The last three places in the 10 team tournament will be decided in November this year and the tournament will run from October 25 to November 22, 2008.