UPDATE: NRL rematch could be the start of more games

UPDATE: The Bundaberg Rugby League association says next year's pre-season match between North Queensland and Brisbane is a trial for further NRL matches in the region.

This morning it was announced the Cowboys and the Broncos will battle at Salter Oval in a rematch of this year's NRL Grand Final on February 6 at 6:30pm.

It will be the only trial match between the two teams in Australia, before both head overseas to compete in the Club World Series.

The match will be one of three contests at the oval during the day with two other trials to be held in the afternoon.
No other sides have been lined up yet, but Intrust Super Cup team the Central Queensland Capras have been mentioned as a likely team.

Ticket sales for the event won't go on sale until early November with capacity yet to be finalised for the venue.
Prices, determined by the NRL, and how they will be available will be announced in the next week.

Queensland Rugby League, and the local association, are hopeful of getting 12,000 people for the event.
In 1992 a crowd of just over 13,500 turned up for the last NRL match at the venue but it is unlikely the current structure will allow for it to happen.

The council have also given their full support to the event, with the Bundaberg cricket association also on board.
They will hand control of the main oval in January so work can be done to make the event a success.

Full details of how the cricket season will be impacted are set to be announced shortly.

Both NRL clubs will land in Bundaberg on Friday and remain in the area until Sunday.

They are expected to perform clinics, and hold a public training session, while in the area.

EARLIER: In a major coup to the town and region of Bundaberg, the NewsMail can confirm that this year's NRL grand finalists North Queensland and Brisbane, will compete in a pre-season trial at Salter Oval next year.

APN has learnt exclusively the two powerhouse clubs are set to battle here in Bundaberg on Saturday, February 6 before they head overseas to play in the Club World Series in England.

The announcement will be officially made today at 10.30am at the venue for the event.

Both teams, who have agreed to the match, are keen to take the trial game to their country fans where they have recruited a number of players over the years.

For the Cowboys, they also have Bundaberg born players Coen Hess and Kyle Laybutt in their under 20s team.

Hess, who was named in the under 20 team of the year for the competition, made his NRL debut in Round 24 against the New Zealand Warriors and scored in their 50-16 win.

Earlier this month, in one of the best premiership deciders in recent memory, the Cowboys won their first NRL title with a 17-16 triumph against the Broncos in extra time thanks to a Jonathan Thurston field goal.

Both teams now want to use the trial in Bundaberg to prepare them for the major club event in England which starts on February 19.

The Cowboys, as NRL premiers, will take on Super League champions the Leeds Rhinos on February 21. The Broncos, in one of two other matches in the event, will face the Wigan Warriors on February 20.

Many stars, including Thurston, Anthony Milford, Michael Morgan, and Sam Thaiday are expected to feature in Bundaberg in what promises to be a sell-out event.

It also breaks a long drought of NRL matches in Bundaberg.

The last match held in the town was in 2005, when these two teams faced each other in a trial at the Brothers Sports complex. At Salter Oval the last matches were held in 1992 when North Sydney faced Balmain and Brisbane battled Newcastle in a double header.

The NewsMail contacted both Queensland Rugby League's central division, and the Bundaberg Rugby League Association for comment, but they declined until a formal announcement was made.

Wayne Bennett, who is right behind the trial, has been influential in getting the match played in the region.



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