The release of the new NRL draw has revealed the North Queensland Cowboys will be the Sharks opponents on the Sunshine Coast in 2020.
To be played at Sunshine Coast Stadium in Round 10 on Saturday, May 16, the Sharks v Cowboys will be one of two NRL fixtures to be held in the region, with the South Sydney Rabbitohs to play on a Friday night under lights in Round 22.
Under commercial partnerships with the Sunshine Coast and the Cronulla and South Sydney clubs, the two teams will play one of their allocated home games at Sunshine Coast Stadium for the next two years.
Sharks CEO Richard Munro said the club was excited to head north in round 10 for its first “home away from home” game on the Sunshine Coast.
“The draw has been kind to us with the Sharks to match up against a quality Queensland opponent in the Cowboys,” Mr Munro said.
“The month of May and round 10 is a great time of the year to be playing on the Sunshine Coast, for both the team and for the fans who can combine a holiday with a blockbuster game of rugby league.
“I’m confident our members and fans will travel up and be a part of it and hope the locals also embrace what should be a fantastic event.”
The Sharks v Cowboys clash is set down for a 5.30pm kick off, with ticketing information to be available soon. The Sharks will communicate ticketing and travel options when they become available.
Sunshine Coast Council Mayor Mark Jamieson said the Sunshine Coast would be the only regional destination in Australia to host two NRL clubs in the one season next year when the Rabbitohs return to Sunshine Coast Stadium and the Sharks play here for the first time.
“The partnerships that council has struck with the Sharks and Rabbitohs to bring home games to the Sunshine Coast next year and the year after is another huge vote of confidence in our region as a destination of choice for major sporting teams and events,” Mayor Jamieson said.
“Our inaugural NRL match in April this year was an overwhelming success, with a sell-out crowd and very positive reviews from the NRL, the Rabbitohs and the New Zealand Warriors.
“Today’s exciting news also comes on the back of Sunday’s fantastic announcement that Sunshine Coast Stadium will host the 2020 Holden Women’s State of Origin match on June 19.
“I’m sure that footy fans here on the Sunshine Coast as well as other parts of Queensland and New Zealand, along with a number of Sharks and Rabbitohs fans in Sydney, will be circling May 16, June 19 and August 15 on their 2020 calendars and looking forward to heading to the Sunshine Coast to catch some great NRL action in our great region.”
Tourism, Sports and Events Portfolio Cr Jason O’Pray said the Sharks and Rabbitohs partnerships and hosting the 2020 Women’s State of Origin match added to the Sunshine Coast’s reputation as a leading destination for elite sports teams and sporting events.
“The successful hosting and support of a wide range of sporting activity and events has built our reputation to the point where we are now getting more opportunities on the national and international stage,” Cr O’Pray said.
“We made our inaugural NRL game in April one to remember and it’s awesome that we’ll have even more big opportunities next year and in 2021 to showcase our region to a national audience and our own passionate sports-loving community.
“We anticipate that both of next year’s NRL games and the Women's State of Origin match will be significant draw cards for supporters from Queensland and interstate, leading to a significant boost for the local economy.
“We’re also really looking forward to having more promotional opportunities available to us by having two extremely high-profile club like the Cronulla Sharks and South Sydney connected to the Sunshine Coast for the next two years.”
The Sharks are planning to go into camp ahead of the Sunshine Coast game, with details of their travel schedule and pre-game community and promotional activities to be communicated once finalised.