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Cairns secures Cowboys and Rabbitohs NRL Premiership game

North Queensland Cowboys will play an NRL premiership fixture in Cairns for the first time in 2016.

Minister for Tourism and Major Events Kate Jones said the reigning premiers would play the South Sydney Rabbitohs at Barlow Park next July.

Ms Jones said Tourism and Events Queensland (TEQ) had signed a three-year agreement to secure South Sydney NRL premiership matches in Cairns until 2018.

“The Sunday 3 July clash in Cairns is the first of three Souths home games to be played in Cairns which will be major drawcards for rugby league fans from around Australia,” she said.

“I’m delighted to welcome South Sydney back to Barlow Park and I’m sure that our very own Cowboys first NRL premiership game in Cairns will be massive for the region.

“On the back of Queensland’s remarkable success this year, we’re expecting thousands of visitors to converge on Cairns to prove why Queensland is home to Australia’s best live events.” 

Member for Cairns Rob Pyne said Cairns was growing in its reputation as an event city.

“Today’s announcement from the NRL follows last week’s confirmation that Cairns will host the IRONMAN Asia Pacific Championship,” Mr Pyne said.

“We know that these events will attract more visitors to Cairns and that means more tourism, more local economic activity and more jobs for locals.”

Ms Jones said Queensland had also secured a huge double-header in Brisbane, which will see the Cowboys play the Storm and the Broncos play the Sea Eagles at Suncorp Stadium in May 2016.

“Hosting major events such as these in Queensland helps boost the State’s tourism economy, drive visitation to our destinations and create jobs,” she said.

The return to Cairns will be South Sydney’s fourth consecutive trip to their tropical home, having previously taken on the Gold Coast Titans, Newcastle Knights, and Canberra Raiders in previous seasons amid an outpouring of red and green in the region.

For long-time Rabbitoh, John Sutton, the trip will be an exciting new chapter in the Club’s history in the region.

“It’s great to be heading back up to Cairns again in 2016,” said Sutton.

“Every time we go to Cairns it’s an amazing experience for myself and the boys, seeing just how much they love their Rugby League and their Rabbitohs up there.

“I’m sure there’s going to be plenty of support from both teams when the game comes around next year.”

Cairns Mayor Bob Manning said the city welcomed the return of the Rabbitohs and expected the addition of the Cowboys into the mix would attract a big crowd.

“Souths have almost become an honorary Cairns team and we look forward to welcoming them back to Barlow Park for their fourth appearance,” Cr Manning said.

“But this will be the first time the Cowboys will have taken the field in a regular season fixture and, judging by the turnout when the team visited Cairns last month, there will be plenty of support for both sides.”

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