The North Queensland Toyota Cowboys and Queensland Touch Football (QTF) have joined forces to create an alliance that will see the northern QTF elite representative teams named the Cowboys.
Queensland Touch Football’s most northern elite 8 men’s and women’s teams will adopt the Cowboys brand and colours when they compete in a four-day carnival starting on Wednesday 9 March in Coffs Harbour.
The link between the two bodies under the Cowboys reinforces the historic partnership formed in 2013 between the NRL and Touch Football Australia.
Along with the touch teams' rebranding, the partnership will bring exclusive opportunities for the Cowboys and Queensland Touch Football to engage new junior participants, develop elite players and provide the pathway for male and female touch football and rugby league players to one day play for the Cowboys.
Queensland Touch Football is the governing body for touch football across the state, with a membership base comprising six regions and features 68 affiliated competitions, 6,500 teams and more than 65,000 players competing in the sport annually.
QTF's focus is on providing equal participation opportunities for all players, from grassroots to elite.
“I'm really excited by what this partnership can deliver both organisations and our communities - it is ground breaking in the context of the touch football and NRL alliance,” said Queensland Touch Football CEO Jamie O’Connor.
“Benefits for the whole touch football community will range from membership and ticketing to participation initiatives.
“From a pathway perspective, there is now an opportunity for male and female players to become a Cowboy in both contact and non-contact versions of our sports, which is exciting.
“This will be the new benchmark for other NRL clubs and touch football relationships. It is a genuine partnership.”
The NRL's partnership with Touch Football Australia was the result of the two sports coming together to create the largest sporting community in the country.
It reflects the wider support that exists for rugby league and the game’s commitment to ensuring there's a place on the field for everyone.
More than a million participants play in competitions under a joint NRL-TFA banner.
This is in addition to around 850,000 girls and boys who take part in NRL development programs each year.
“Touch football has a massive participation base of men, women, boys and girls who will, through this alignment, become part of the Cowboys family,” said Cowboys CEO Greg Tonner.
“The benefits that will flow for the Cowboys brand and the continuing growth and development of participation in both rugby league and touch football will be a major boost to both organisations.
“This collaboration further reinforces the strength of the NRL and touch football in North Queensland.”