THE North Queensland Cowboys will host the Sydney Roosters in a pre-season trial match in Mackay next year.
The trial will be played at BB Print Stadium, home of Cowboys Queensland Cup feeder team the Mackay Cutters, on Saturday, February 11.
It will be preceded by a clash between the new-look Cutters team and the Cowboys’ under-20s side which will contest the 2017 National Youth Competition. The Cutters are now coached by former Cowboys under-20s assistant coach Steve Sheppard.
In announcing confirmation of the trial, Cutters CEO Troy Rovelli acknowledged the work of the Mackay Regional Council in their role in bringing such a high-profile game to the North Queensland city.
“The council have been terrific every step of the way, and we can’t thank them enough for the role they’ve played in making this match possible,” Mr Rovelli said.
‘”We know the people of Mackay love the Cowboys, they’ll embrace this match and we look forward to packing out our stadium come February 11.”
Mackay Mayor Greg Williamson said it was exciting the Cowboys were returning to Mackay for a pre-season NRL trial.
“The last time they were in town was on their whistle-stop tour of Mackay, Mount Isa and Cairns last year after winning the NRL premiership and there was a huge turnout to welcome them,’’ he said.
“They certainly have plenty of fans in our region and it is fantastic they’ll get to see them in action against another NRL team at BB Print Stadium Mackay.”
It’s too early to say who’ll turn out for both sides, but a pre-season head to head battle between Johnathan Thurston and Mitchell Pearce, and Michael Morgan and Luke Keary is a mouth-watering proposition.