I’ll call NRL games in CQ for free: Costigan
RUGBY LEAGUE: If the NRL revisits a pitch to relocate all players to Calliope to save the 2020 competition, former Fox Sports commentator turned politician Jason Costigan says he will call games for free.
“If it means putting a smile on people’s faces and entertaining people while they’re looking at the four walls, whether it’s television or radio for whatever broadcaster, count me in at no charge - part of my community service,” the leader of Queensland’s newest political party NQ First said on Wednesday.
The Morning Bulletin spoke to Mr Costigan after The Daily Telegraph rugby league writer Paul Kent said the NRL needed to revisit the plan to relocate to Central Queensland again “with urgency.”
“Now that the mortgage is under stress a lot of re-thinking is being done in clubland,” Kent wrote on Tuesday evening.
Whitsunday MP Mr Costigan, who once worked for then English Super Club Bradford Bulls and also as media manager at the Canterbury Bulldogs, supported the idea of the NRL coming to CQ or North Queensland.
He said he would write to CEO Todd Greenberg today asking the NRL to seriously consider bringing the stalled 2020 competition to one of these regions if that was possible given the current situation.
“Look the Calliope Roosters will probably be more excited about it than the Sydney Roosters,” Mr Costigan said.
“But maybe the NRL players and clubs should have a re-think.”
Mr Costigan said if the NRL did not deem Calliope suitable then it should consider the Whitsundays.
“Can you imagine those live pictures showcasing the beauty of The Whitsundays?” he said.
“Where the rainforest meets the sea, boats at anchor in the bay and looking across to our world famous islands.
“It would be a huge advertisement for our region.
“I don’t want to cut Calliope’s grass, but all options should be canvassed.
“If they (NRL) didn’t want Airlie or if the playing field wasn’t up to it for whatever reason, they could look at Les Stagg Oval in Proserpine.
“It’s smack bang in the middle of a sugar town surrounded by lush green cane fields, with our iconic mill dominating the skyline.
“Both places have something to offer for the broadcasters if they’re serious about taking the show on the road, and we certainly have oodles of accommodation.”
Proserpine has previously hosted Foley Shield games going back to when Whitsunday joined that competition after the road to Collinsville was sealed in 1969.
The PNG Kumuls also played in Proserpine, the hometown of Cowboys great Paul Bowman, in the early 1990s.
Recently Calliope was pitched as a potential home for all 16 teams as they bunkered down during the COVID-19 outbreak.
Southern media reported then the NRL was considering using Homeground Villages near Gladstone as a base camp to minimise the risk of infection.
The nearby Marley Brown Oval is of NRL standard having hosted a Manly v Gold Coast match in April, 2018, and could stage fixtures.
Rockhampton’s rugby league powerbrokers have also pushed Browne Park as a suitable venue for NRL games.