Mackay Ready For NAB Challenge
Saturday, March 05 2016 @ 11:06 pm ACDT
Contributed by: Wesley Hull
The North Queensland city of Mackay is ready for their inaugural AFL NAB Challenge match with a sell-out crowd predicted to watch the Brisbane Lions take on St Kilda. The game will be played at the Harrup Park Country Club. General Manager of Harrup Park, Michael Jones, is quoted on the AFL Mackay website as saying “this is the first AFL NAB Challenge match for the region and there is real buzz and excitement around it.”
Mackay scored the game after northern neighbour, Townsville, had hosted NAB Challenge games featuring the Brisbane Lions, Gold Coast Suns, North Melbourne and Geelong in recent years. Combined with the regular AFL premiership matches in Cairns of recent seasons, Townsville had been a source of big league AFL matches for North Queenslanders. This year Mackay takes over the role and has the entire city excited.
(Picture: St Kilda's David Armitage, formerly from Mackay - St Kilda FC)
Plenty of pre-match and post-match activities are planned, including opportunities to meet players and gather autographs, watch training sessions and even have a kick on the ground after the game.
Adding spice to the game is the appearance of local Mackay product, and now one of St Kilda’s most experienced and valuable players, David Armitage. Born on Mackay, and playing juniors for the Eastern Swans, Armitage was drafted to the Saints in 2006 after a period with Brisbane club Morningside. His return to his place of birth will be a huge attraction for fans of the game in Mackay.
Of course, the Brisbane Lions also have their own connection as one of the two Queensland-based AFL clubs (along with the Gold Coast Suns) creating the opportunity for North Queensland fans to embrace the club parochially, as Queenslander are noted for their devotion to their state-based teams.
Despite recent wet weather across North Queensland, it is now Mackay’s turn to shine, and the people at AFL Mackay, Harrup Park and the city in general are absolutely ready to do just that.