The North Queensland Cowboys have responded to a report in Wednesday's Townsville Bulletin which stated the club would be forced to move its 2011 round three home game from Dairy Farmers Stadium.

The Cowboys have conceded the clash against the Melbourne Storm may need a venue change because motocross event Nitro Circus is scheduled at the ground for the weekend of March 26-27.

Despite chances of the Cowboys playing the match at their home ground now being slim, the club will battle to keep the game at Dairy Farmers Stadium.


COWBOYS STATEMENT ON ROUND 3 VENUE AVAILABILITY


On behalf of the North Queensland Toyota Cowboys, Chief Executive Officer Peter Jourdain issued this statement today:
 
Further to reports in today’s Townsville Bulletin, the North Queensland Toyota Cowboys confirm that the club could be forced to move their 2011 Cowboys v Storm home game from Dairy Farmers Stadium.
 
As primary tenant at Dairy Farmers Stadium, the Cowboys were only advised by Stadiums Queensland of the unavailability of the venue for the Round 3 match scheduled against the Melbourne Storm (weekend of 25-28 March) by letter, one day prior to the release of the NRL draw.
 
Although Stadiums Queensland advised the NRL of another venue booking (Nitro Circus) in May 2010, they did not advise us until 6 October.
 
NRL chief operating officer Graham Annersley advised Stadiums Queensland in May to notify the Cowboys to enable us to submit a draw request for an away game and avoid a venue clash.

The Cowboys maintain that all correspondence regarding venue availability should have been directed to the club as lessee.
 
Discussions with Stadiums Queensland to resolve the error have not achieved a desirable result for the club to date, with the only solution offered by the venue being that the Cowboys should request for the match to be played on Monday 28 March.
 
The Cowboys consider this to be an unviable solution for two key reasons:

1.     The Nitro Circus event is scheduled for Saturday 26 March, but with a 24-hour ‘wet weather’ clause, this event could take place the following day – the Cowboys cannot take the risk that Dairy Farmers Stadium field will not be NRL match-ready if Nitro Circus is held on a wet field on Sunday 27 March.

2.    The date and time of the match within the round is dictated by the NRL broadcasters, in conjunction with the NRL. Indications from the NRL at this stage are that the match will be scheduled for 8.30pm on Saturday 26 March.
 
The Cowboys will continue to fight to have the match played at Dairy Farmers Stadium, but based on negotiations to date, it would appear that this is becoming more unlikely.
 
While this would be an undesirable outcome, it is the club’s responsibility and goal to keep members, sponsors and stakeholders informed and we will communicate any updates as they become available.