1300SMILES Stadium, the home ground of the North Queensland Toyota Cowboys, has literally been unearthed in a powerful nod to the beloved towns and cities that make up the club’s supporter base.
In a landmark project, the stadium has been transformed into 'Your Home Ground', whereby a sample of the actual playing soil from dozens of North Queensland rugby league fields has been dug up, transported to 1300SMILES Stadium and interred into the ground at the Kirwan-based stadium.
Where it all began...
Following the Cowboys’ history-making 2015 NRL Premiership, the club embarked on an ambitious yet warmly received trophy tour.
On this tour, the prized Provan-Summons Trophy has travelled from Cape York to Mount Isa to Rockhampton and all points in between, allowing the North’s Cowboys’ faithful to get up close and personal with the physical symbol of the club’s crowning achievement.
While in these towns, staff accompanying the trophy – with the support of local rugby league clubs – have collected a sample of soil from each home footy ground and carefully transported the precious earth back to Townsville for interment into the 1300SMILES Stadium turf.
With the valued assistance of the stadium’s grounds staff, the interred soil has been temporarily signposted with a stunning map painted on to the grass, showcasing the towns and cities whose home ground soil is now a literal part of the earth at the Cowboys’ home base.
Your Home Ground launch
“The Your Home Ground Project is a powerful recognition of what we stand for at the Cowboys,” club CEO Greg Tonner said at the official ceremony to launch the project.
“Cowboys country is made up of these fantastic North Queensland communities – each with their own character and personality – united by a deep-seated passion and affection for the Cowboys.
“Our members and supporters in these cities and towns can rest assured that this admiration and love is a two-way street as the Cowboys will always value these communities that form the heart of our unique club.
“What this project says is that 'we are one' – even though we live in different towns and cities in this great region, we are truly one Cowboys community, united by mutual respect and admiration in the pursuit of on- and off-field success.”
North Queensland co-captains Johnathan Thurston and Matt Scott got behind the Your Home Ground initiative today, checking out the new-look paint job on the field, both players thrilled that Cowboys communities were being given this level of recognition in such a tangible way.
“This project looks fantastic, and is a terrific concept that captures what we’re about. Many of our fans travel hours to watch us play, so this is a nice acknowledgement of that,” Thurston said.
“That we will now be running around on a field that has been infused with parts of footy grounds from all over our large supporters’ footprint will fill the boys with tremendous pride.”
Scott said: “Being from a small Queensland country town myself, I know how much a project like this would mean to teammates like Scott Bolton and Ben Spina, who will be thrilled to be running around 1300SMILES Stadium with the soil from the Innisfail and Ingham rugby league grounds under their feet.”
Keeping track of Your Home Ground
Members and supporters can progressively chart the Your Home Ground project on cowboys.com.au, where towns will be added to the project map as more soil is collected – launch participants are shown below.
After having already covered over 20,000km and reached dozens of communities, the Cowboys’ trophy tour is continuing, with trips to the Torres Strait and Centrals Highlands planned for December.