South Sydney Rabbitohs player, Aaron Gray, says he’s looking forward to seeing more red and green in the stands and on the hill at Barlow Park in July when he spoke at a media launch for the Round 19 NRL Telstra Premiership clash between the Rabbitohs and Cowboys in Cairns today.
Gray said the South Sydney team always enjoys great support and playing the Cowboys in Tropical North Queensland adds to the atmosphere.
“This will be the fifth straight year that we’ve (the Rabbitohs) brought a home game to Cairns and it’s always one of my favourite games of the year,” Gray said.
“We’ve built a big fan base up here over the past four years and we have over 1000 Members in Queensland.
“Of course the Cowboys have their support too but the amount of red and green you see around the ground is great for the boys when we play up here and I want to see more red and green around Barlow Park this year.
“My recovery from injury is on track and I’ll be aiming to play in Cairns this year, and it should be another bumper crowd to watch some of the biggest names in the game play here at Barlow Park.”
The South Sydney Rabbitohs have shown their continued support of the people of Cairns and the surrounding areas; with the support of Tourism and Events Queensland, Cairns Regional Council, Tourism Tropical North Queensland and the Cairns Rugby League; by electing to host an NRL Telstra Premiership home game at Barlow Park in Cairns for the fifth consecutive year.
In what was an electric atmosphere at last year’s NRL event in Cairns; which attracted a sell-out crowd of almost 15,000 supporters; Rabbitohs fans, Cowboys fans and sports fans from around the Cairns region, Tropical North Queensland and interstate descended upon Barlow Park and similar support for the NRL competition fixture is expected again in 2017.
With the likes of State of Origin and International stars such as Sam Burgess, Adam Reynolds, Robbie Farah, Johnathan Thurston, Jason Taumalolo and Michael Morgan set to take to the turf at Barlow Park five days after the third State of Origin match this year, Cairns is set to become the centre of focus for all NRL fans in July.
Rabbitohs CEO Blake Solly says the buildup to the big clash in Cairns has already begun.
“We’re already hearing from our Members and supporters up north about how excited they are to have South Sydney taking on the Cowboys in Cairns again this year,” Mr Solly said.
“We went on sale early for this game to give NRL fans in Tropical North Queensland the chance to get their tickets as early as possible, and to allow our Members and supporters from Sydney and other areas around the country plenty of time to lock in their plans to travel to one of our biggest events of the year.
“Everyone at the Rabbitohs is excited about this game and we can’t wait to continue our great work with Tourism and Events Queensland and Cairns Regional Council to put on another big event in Cairns.”
Minister for Tourism, Major Events and the Commonwealth Games, Kate Jones said hosting an NRL Premiership game in Cairns would be a welcome boost for the local tourism industry.
“This is a top sporting event which will attract loyal Rugby League fans from all over the state and other parts of Australia to Tropical North Queensland,” she said.
“The Rabbitohs vs Cowboys game at Barlow Park offers visitors the perfect opportunity to indulge their love of NRL with a Tropical North Queensland getaway.
“Our Government, through Tourism and Events Queensland, is proud to support bringing this game to Cairns for the fifth consecutive year.
“Last year’s game attracted more than 15,300 fans and delivered a $4.6 million boost to the local economy.”
Mayor of Cairns, Cr Bob Manning, encouraged fans to get their tickets ahead of time with last year’s match a sell-out.
“This NRL clash will be just as popular as previous years and it is fantastic that we can bring this top class event to Cairns,” Cr Manning said.
“While there’ll be plenty of support for the Cowboys, we have been hosting the Rabbitohs for four years and they are our adopted team. I am sure there’ll be plenty of red and green on show at Barlow in July.
“Games like this showcase our great city as a home of first class events. There’s no better place to cheer on the stars of the NRL than in Cairns.
“Where else can you combine fantastic sporting entertainment with a spectacular backdrop of the Wet Tropics and Great Barrier Reef.”