Beattie tackles ground upgrade

Austadiums   |  Sunday 26th September 2004
The irresistible roll of the Cowboys continues to gain momentum, with the State Government to pour $3 million into improvements at North Queensland's home ground.

Queensland Premier Peter Beattie revealed to The Sunday Mail that Townsville's Dairy Farmers Stadium would be fitted with extra seating, a new replay screen and public address system, 30 more corporate boxes and upgraded catering facilities as part of the funding injection.

The news comes just a week after the ground hosted a sell-out crowd of 24,989 for the semi-final between North Queensland and the Brisbane Broncos, with tickets for the historic clash snapped up in just a few hours.

The Queensland Government took over the running of the ground at the start of the year through the Major Sports Facilities Authority, and Beattie said he was keen to sign the Cowboys to a long-term tenancy agreement at the venue.

Given North Queensland's historic run into the NRL finals, Cowboys tickets will be the hottest in town next season, stretching the venue to the limit.

Season-ticket inquiries have rung the phones off the hook for the past fortnight, while the waiting list for corporate boxes has grown.

Mr Beattie was in the stands for North Queensland's win last Saturday night and said his Government was more than willing to back the high-flying Cowboys.

"In the 2004-05 financial year, it is expected that up to $3 million will be spent on improving facilities at Dairy Farmers," Mr Beattie said.

"A new video replay screen costing about $1 million is due to be installed before the ARL Kangaroos Development Team and Papua New Guinea match (on October 9).

"If a suitable long-term tenancy arrangement can be agreed with the North Queensland Cowboys which justifies the Government's investment, it is possible additional seating along the eastern terrace, 30 corporate boxes and upgraded catering services costing a total of about $1.5 million could be constructed in time for the 2005 season.

"It is also proposed to spend about $500,000 on installing a ground PA system (instead of having to hire one on a game-by-game basis) and continuing to replace ageing equipment."

Mr Beattie said it was important to settle tenancy arrangements before work proceeded because the Government needed to be satisfied the additional investment was going to be worthwhile over the long term.

Cowboys chief executive Denis Keeffe said he believed the 25,000 capacity was just right for the Cowboys and said upgrading existing facilities was the next step for the club.

"The stadium is the perfect fit for this community but things like installing dedicated seating and extending our corporate facilities was always the top priority," Keeffe said.

"We want to provide our loyal followers with a bit more creature comforts.

"We want coming to Cowboys games to be a safe, comfortable, enjoyable and affordable experience for our supporters.

"It's great that our Premier and Deputy Premier (Sports Minister Terry Mackenroth) are rugby league men and have thrown their support behind the Cowboys.

"We certainly appreciate it and I know our fans will too."
Willows Sports Complex

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The irresistible roll of the Cowboys continues to gain momentum, with the State Government to pour $3 million into improvements at North Queensland's home ground.
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