Cowboys to push ahead with big plans
Reigning champions North Queensland have reiterated their desire to push for a new stadium and hosting rights to next year's Anzac Test in praising outgoing NRL CEO Dave Smith's commitment to the region during his time in charge.
Smith announced on Tuesday morning that his three-year tenure as NRL CEO would come to an end on November 30 at which point Australian Rugby League Commission chairman John Grant would step in in an interim capacity until a successor is appointed.
Cowboys CEO Greg Tonner spoke highly of Smith's commitment to the broad North Queensland rugby league footprint and said the club was eager to continue discussions with the ARLC with regards to new infrastructure and hosting a Test match.
"I'd like to thank Dave for all his support for the Cowboys during his tenure, including making the effort to come up to 1300SMILES Stadium and engage with our fantastic members and supporters," Tonner said in a club statement, highlighting Smith's attendance at several Cowboys games in 2015.
"He's been very supportive of what we're doing in terms of our business model and he was always empathetic towards the unique dynamics of our club in terms of being in a regional area with the largest geographical footprint in the NRL.
"For us, having just won our maiden premiership and with a busy off-season ahead of us, it is business as usual in terms of working with John and his team in our joint strategy to make the stadium a reality."
Tonner revealed that 1300SMILES Stadium was in the mix to host a Saturday night Anzac Test in 2016, with Townsville, Perth and Newcastle vying for hosting honours. If held in Townsville the Test would form part of a larger defence memorial event.
Having conducted a three-stop regional tour with 12 members of the grand final team on Sunday, the Cowboys are now embarking on a regional trophy tour that has already seen the Provan-Summons Trophy visit Hughenden, Richmond, Julia Creek and Mount Isa.