Townsville hosts Brisbane v Gold Coast state derby
Monday, February 24 2014 @ 09:00 pm ACDT
Contributed by: Wesley Hull
Townsville hosted its second NAB Challenge/Cup game in two years today, with the Brisbane Lions and Gold Coast Suns locking horns in the first Queensland derby for 2014. This follows on from their successful foray into the AFL’s pre-season competition in 2013 when the Gold Coast Suns played the North Melbourne Kangaroos.
It was Townsville’s turn to host one of the AFL’s “18 games in 18 days” NAB Challenge matches, with Tony Ireland Stadium, the Australian Rules showpiece in the tropical North Queensland city, on display again to a national audience. In 32 degree heat, and a relatively enjoyable 67 percent humidity, it was the Lions who escaped to a 33 point lead before the Suns could even register a score. Something of a surprise given Brisbane’s horrid thrashing from Hawthorn to start this carnival in the first game, and the Gold Coast pipped Essendon by a point after a five goal comeback.
The result was never in doubt after that with the Brisbane Lions comfortable winners kicking 1 (supergoal) 14.13 106 to the Sun’s 0 (supergoal) 8.11 59.
But, again, it was the northern city of Townsville, and the game of AFL there, which was the biggest winner. Tony Ireland Stadium also hosted a number of community events which included coaching forums, NAB AFL Auskick clinics, club signing sessions and other kid’s activities.
Additionally, the Gold Coast SUNS Academy North Queensland and Central Queensland sides played in an inter-squad match on Saturday morning. The Australian defence force started the proceedings today with a march-on prior to the Australian Defence Force team taking on AFL Townsville’s representative team in a curtain raiser to the big game.
Townsville still wants to see the further development of Tony Ireland Stadium to full AFL compliance to host matches for premiership points, and is working towards that with seating capacity, lights and other facilities being reviewed and developed. This game, and the national exposure gained from it, can only be of benefit to Townsville and the AFL community who work so tirelessly to build the game in the tropics.
Attention will now turn to the Round 17 premiership match between the Western Bulldogs and the Gold Coast Suns, to be played at Cazalys Stadium in Cairns on July 12th.