Major $27m announcement as Brisbane Roar confirmed
GLADSTONE is set for a sporting bonanza in coming months with three high-profile organisations to hold events in the Port City.
A-League soccer side Brisbane Roar is confirmed to play at Marley Brown Oval in July.
Plus a National Rugby Championship game involving Brisbane City and Queensland Country will take place later in the year.
This game will likely feature Queensland Reds players.
The NRL Touch Premiership is also coming to Gladstone with the North Queensland Cowboys side set to hold a training clinic and exhibition game on May 25-26.
Representatives from touch football, rugby league, rugby union and soccer were at Marley Brown Oval today for the announcement.
It also coincided with Gladstone Mayor Matt Burnett revealing a $27-million reconfiguration of the facility.
The changes involve turning the ground 90 degrees and constructing a 5000-seat grandstand in front of Harvey Road Tavern.
The existing 1000-seat grandstand will be removed with the possibility of relocating it to another sporting ground.
Cr Burnett said funding for the project would be paid for via rate equivalences from Gladstone Ports Corporation.
He said Gladstone Regional Council also intended to lobby for state and federal funding.
The Mayor said securing top teams to play indicated a big future for Marley Brown Oval and reinforced the need for the upgrade.
"The Gladstone Region will not be sidelined. We are passionately committed and driven to encourage quality teams from the various sporting codes to play in front of their regional fans," Cr Burnett said.
"The only thing more exciting than watching top-level games is being able to watch them and experience the game excitement with mates on home ground, which for us, is Gladstone's own Marley Brown Oval.
"We've already shown the site is capable of hosting premier events and that has helped entice more high-level players and games to the Marley Brown grounds.
"The North Queensland Cowboys from the NRL Touch Premiership will travel here in May for coaching clinics and an exhibition game.
"(And) the Brisbane Roar is lined up to play at Marley Brown Oval in July in a pre-season match.
"Gladstone Regional Council is working with Queensland Rugby Union to bring an NRC championship game to Gladstone later this year."
Cr Burnett said council was also liaising with NRL clubs to bring a pre-season or a season proper game to Gladstone in the coming years.
Gladstone hosted last year's Round 5 NRL clash between Gold Coast Titans and Manly Sea Eagles in front of 5136 fans.
Brisbane Roar CEO David Pourre said the club appreciated the opportunity Gladstone Regional Council had provided to bring players to the region for a week-long training camp finishing in a pre-season fixture.
This is likely to be the first game of new coach and former Liverpool FC player Robbie Fowler's tenure.
"As Queensland's only representative in the Hyundai A-League competition and Westfield W-League competition, Brisbane Roar Football Club takes great pride in representing our proud state," Pourre said.
"This year we look forward to visiting and engaging the Gladstone and surrounding football communities early in our 2019/20 pre-season preparations.
"It's a great opportunity for all local fans of football and sport fans in general to meet our new Brisbane Roar Hyundai A-League head coach and his new-look squad who are determined to bring more success to Queensland in season 2019/20."
Queensland Rugby Union head of operations Mark Melrose was thrilled to host an NRC game in Gladstone.
"Queensland Rugby is excited and proud to be bringing Bond University Queensland Country team to Gladstone to take on Brisbane City as part of the 2019 National Rugby Championships," Mr Melrose said.
"Thank you to Gladstone Regional Council for their support in helping Queensland Rugby bring this game to life."