LESS than three weeks after settling into its new home at North Queensland Cowboys HQ, the NRL Telstra Premiership Provan-Summons Trophy has racked up more frequent flyer miles than a politician on the campaign trail.
The Toyota Cowboys claimed the 2015 premiership on October 4 with a pulsating 17-16 extra-time grand final over the Brisbane Broncos at ANZ Stadium in arguably the greatest premiership decider in NRL history.
Since taking possession of the trophy, Cowboys players and staff have chaperoned it to various locations, with the stated aim of sharing the historic premiership with as many NQ members and supporters as possible.
In the week immediately after the grand final win, Cowboys players kept a close watch over Provan-Summons as they celebrate their longed-for premiership.
Since then, though, the trophy has travelled:
· From Townsville to Bowen and back by road (402km).
· From Townsville to Mackay, Mount Isa and Cairns by air as part of the Regional Tour where 11 Cowboys players met fans in the three regional centres (2991km round trip).
· From Townsville to Mount Isa by air - stopping at Hughenden, Richmond and Julia Creek and Cloncurry - on the first leg of Phase 1 of the Cowboys’ Trophy Tour, covering the smaller towns within the club’s geographical footprint (2016km round trip).
· From Mount Isa to Cloncurry and back by road (240km).
· From Townsville to Doomadgee, continuing on to Burketown, Mornington Island, Normanton, Cairns and back to Townsville (2507km round trip) as Phase 1 of the Trophy Tour continued.
In the 18 days since the 2015 NRL grand final, the 34kg trophy has travelled more than 8000km as the club moves to connect as many NQ supporters as possible with the treasured prize.
“To be able to undertake this very special Trophy Tour underpins what we’re about at the Cowboys – connecting with our communities and sharing this fantastic achievement,” said Cowboys CEO Greg Tonner, who has been personally accompanying the trophy around North Queensland.
After resting up for a day on Thursday, October 22, the trophy will continue its odyssey into the hearts and minds of those living in Cowboys country when it heads to one of the northernmost settlements in mainland Australia – Bamaga – to commence Phase 2 of the Trophy Tour. From Bamaga, Provan-Summons will return to Townsville before making its way by road back north, taking in Ingham, Tully, Innisfail, Atherton and Mareeba, before returning to Townsville ahead of an aerial journey southwest to Winton and Longreach.
“To have the Provan-Summons Trophy visit these communities and to give people the chance to have their photograph taken with it is a truly special moment that will live with people forever,” Mr Tonner said.
“We’re the North Queensland Cowboys and this Trophy Tour is our way of saying thank you for all your valued support over the years.”
Phases 3 and 4 of the Trophy Tour are being planned but are expected to include a three-day visit to Papau New Guinea, plus visits to Magnetic Island, Charters Towers, the Burdekin Bowen, Proserpine and Collinsville.