Sport

Cowboys vs Broncos final at Townsville could be CQ in future

Geoff Murphy and Denis Keeffe at the annoucement of the formation of a junior CQ NRL Bid representative team. Photo Chris Ison / The Morning Bulletin ROK200511cleague4
Geoff Murphy and Denis Keeffe at the annoucement of the formation of a junior CQ NRL Bid representative team. Photo Chris Ison / The Morning Bulletin ROK200511cleague4 Chris Ison

IMAGINE living in the same city as your favourite NRL team.

Next, imagine they've made the finals!

But wait. There's more.

The CEO of your team has negotiated to move the finals game from another stadium thousands of kilometres away to your home stadium.

Then, you anxiously sit on your computer, hoping you get some of the 25,000 tickets before they sell out. The confirmation comes through minutes before the sold out sign pops up.

On the night, the stadium is packed with people, some who have driven 10 hours-plus to attend and some flying 6-8 hours from interstate.

Everyone is in high spirits, just on the possibilities of what their team could produce on the field.

They are in their team's colours, faces painted, signs in hand.

This was the excitement 10 years ago when the North Queensland Cowboys made the finals for the first time, with the semi-final game against the Broncos (who they face tonight in the finals) moved from Sydney to Townsville.

The CEO of the Cowboys at the time was Denis Keeffe (pictured) - now CEO of the CQ NRL Bid.

"The whole region went crazy," Keeffe said.

"They had a right to go crazy. They had been disappointed a number of times.

"I remember the night that we made the finals. It was a blustery cold night out at Campbelltown. We beat West Tigers that night to get into the playoffs."

Keeffe said the team celebrated in the change rooms after that game.

The next week, the Cowboys beat the Bulldogs, which Keeffe said had a super side of players.

"A bunch of boys from the bush took them away," he said.

Keeffe said he and a team were coming back from that game when he got a call from the Broncos CEO Bruno Cullen, offering to play the game at Suncorp rather than in Sydney, where it was scheduled.

But Keeffe turned him down, saying it was either Sydney or Townsville.

After days of negiotiations and just 20 minutes before the deadline for confirming a venue it was announced the game would be played at Dairy Farmers Stadium and fans started lining up immediately.

"It was bedlam," Keeffe said.

"What I remember is the people standing in the blazing sun the next day, in an ever increasing queue, but so happy.

"We had our players out there, giving them drinks of water and talking to the crowd. All in the front car park there of the stadium.

"There were just tens of thousands of people just trying to get tickets.

"That sort of event generates a lot of community pride.

"I would like to be able to fast forward to five or 10 years time and that could be happening right here in Rockhampton."

Topics:  broncos cowboys cq nrl bid nrl



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