Brisbane Broncos, NRL.com
The Brisbane Broncos will play on New Zealand’s South Island for the first time when they do battle in an historic trial in Dunedin in February next year.
The Broncos have done a deal with NRL counterparts the Warriors to face off in a full-scale warm-up game in New Zealand’s newest, largest and most versatile indoor arena, Forsyth Barr Stadium in Dunedin.
Construction of Forsyth Barr Stadium was completed in August 2011, in time for last year’s Rugby World Cup and with its unique, transparent roof this match will mark the first time the Broncos have played under a roof since the 2009 preliminary final in Melbourne.
The February 23 trial will be the first match between NRL teams ever staged in Dunedin and serve part of a bumper start to the 2013 trial season, with the game in discussions to be telecast live on Fox Sports.
It is hoped the match will fill the 5.30pm timeslot as a pre-cursor to the annual Charity Shield match between the Dragons and Rabbitohs on the same night.
The Dunedin game will form part of a varied trial season for the Broncos, with matches also to take place in regional Queensland and Brisbane.
It will also create an opportunity for the Broncos’ New Zealand-based fans. The Broncos have well over 20,000 supporters that reside in New Zealand and follow the team through Facebook.
“This game will be a great event not only for the Broncos and Warriors, but a great step forward for the game of rugby league in the South Island of New Zealand,” said Terry Reader, Broncos’ general manager of Marketing and Commercial Operations.
“We know we have thousands of fans across the Tasman and while those around Auckland get a chance to see us play every year, this will be an exciting opportunity for those on the South Island.
“It will be a special event at a very unique stadium. We can’t thank the Warriors and especially the management of Dunedin Venues enough – their willingness to work to make this event happen has been a real breath of fresh air.”
The trip to Dunedin will continue the Broncos’ efforts in growing the code of rugby league after a trial against the Storm in Hobart last year drew a crowd of over 12,000.