Broncos and Cowboys NRL stars expected to play in Bundaberg
THE organisers of the preseason trial between North Queensland and Brisbane are confident the major stars of the respective clubs will turn up to Bundaberg to compete in next year's NRL Grand Final replay.
Yesterday they announced the match will be held on February 6 at 6.30pm, and will be the only match between the two teams in Australia before the new NRL season begins.
With the Auckland Nines tournament also held on the same weekend, the trial has to compete with the event to land the big stars to the area.
President of the Bundaberg Rugby League association Mike Ireland says the best players will come to Bundaberg to prepare for the 2016 NRL season.
"They will bring their marquee players here to Bundaberg to play, so they can take their best squad overseas," Ireland said.
"Under the new player agreement they are only allowed to play one trial."
With Bundaberg the only chance for players to prepare for the World Club Series, with almost identical rules and format in the trial, both clubs are looking at this event over the Auckland Nines to perform well overseas.
"We've been told by both organisations they will be bringing their marquee players," Ireland added.
Much of the credit for the match taking place has gone to Dave Pearce the operations manager of Queensland Rugby League's central division.
Pearce has been in contact with both clubs over the last 18 months to make the dream a reality.
"I must thank Broncos CEO and coach, Paul White and Wayne Bennett, who fully endorsed coming to Bundaberg. I am indebted to them."
"I never dreamed it would be a Broncos and Cowboys trial."
With the annoucnement now made, the attention has turned to getting the oval right for the big event.
The local association is looking at getting more than 10,000 spectators to the event.
The council, who are fully supportive of the event, are ready to offer assistance in anyway they can.
"We will put in any support that is needed for the event, and have staff ready to help mainly with seating," deputy mayor David Batt said.
"The council will be working with the association to make sure it goes off without a hitch."