Plans for more NRL games at Marley Brown
IF MAYOR Matt Burnett gets his way, Gladstone will be hosting regular NRL matches as early as next year.
Following the huge success of the Gold Coast Titans and Manly Sea Eagles clash at Marley Brown Oval on Sunday, Cr Burnett told The Observer preparations are under way to create a master plan for the grounds within the next 12 months.
With the aim to attract state and federal government funding for the upgrade, Cr Burnett said improved facilities could allow Gladstone to host up to two NRL matches a year.
Sunday's game and the week leading up to it proved we have the facilities and certainly the community will to host more games at Marley Brown.
"The (Marley Brown Master) plan will factor in all the modifications we need to make the field, grounds, car park, grandstands and other facilities attractive to the NRL to host regular games here."
The plan would include details on the location of field, where to put future grandstands, what they will cost and how many people the ground will be able to hold.
Cr Burnett said the success of Sunday's game, which attracted more than 5000 people, showed selling tickets at a game at an expanded venue would not be a problem.
"We sold 5000 tickets for the game, and in the week leading up to the game we could have sold another 5000," Cr Burnett said.
"People came from all over Central Queensland to watch the match, meet the players and attend the clinics, we definitely have the numbers to regularly host future NRL games here."
Cr Burnett said the NRL was impressed with how smoothly everything went before, during and after the game.
"Anyone attending the game will attest to how well organised it was, and we proved that Gladstone has ultimate league field for Queensland," he said.
He was keen to build on the success of the event particularly for future generations of local rugby fans.
"One personal highlight of the weekend was seeing the kids come from all over the region to attend the coaching clinics," he said.
"The first clinic sold out, then we extended it and that one sold out as well, but we still had kids swarming down to the field just to watch the players."
He said interest from younger players alone was a worthwhile reason to bring future NRL games to the city.
"There's no reason why Gladstone couldn't become a regular fixture for future games, we've proven we've got the facilities and the backing of the community, we will get them back," he said.