A helicopter has transferred turf from 1300SMILES Stadium to Queensland Country Bank Stadium as a symbolic transfer of 25 seasons of history to the North Queensland Cowboys’ new home ground.
The transfer on Monday afternoon symbolised a slice of natural history from the birthplace of the Cowboys to their brand-new 25,000-seat stadium.
The lowering of the turf at Queensland Country Bank Stadium signified the start of the laying of the stadium playing surface turf with Queensland Minister for Sport Mick de Brenni noting the first piece of turf being laid was another significant milestone for the construction of North Queensland’s new stadium.
“This symbolic transfer will mark the commencement of laying the playing field turf.”
“Over the next few weeks, the speakers and sound system will be commissioned and tested, and the electronic scoreboard will spring to life in testing.”
North Queensland Cowboys Chief Executive Jeff Reibel said that the move is a meaningful one for the club adding “it’s great to be able to carry our club’s memories, lessons and dreams from the past with us into our new home, where we invite North Queenslanders to join us for an exciting future.
“The square metre has come form the northern end of the stadium,” Mr Reibel said. “Number one is we are training on the field for the next 12 months and when we talked to the coach he didn’t want it taken out of the middle.
“But number two, to ensure again that the turf can be regrown in that area.”
The removal and transfer of the turf was done with the permission of, and overseen by, representatives of the Wulgurukaba First Nations People, the traditional custodians of the land on which both stadiums reside.
The Queensland Country Bank Stadium is a joint project of the Queensland Government, Australian Government and Townsville City Council and is supported by both the NRL and the North Queensland Cowboys.
The stadium forms part of the Townsville City Deal signed in December 2016.
A free open day will mark the official opening of the stadium on Saturday 22 February. Elton John will have the honour of performing at the first event, on Saturday 29 February, before the Cowboys take on the Broncos in their first NRL home game on Friday 13 March.