The North Queensland Toyota Cowboys have revealed their exciting vision for the club’s community, training and admin centre positioned alongside the state-of-the-art North Queensland Stadium.
Combining community areas, multi-sport high-performance training spaces, sports medicine and sports science laboratories, together with the Stadium and administration offices, all in a central CBD location, will be a step-changing outcome for the club and the city.
The first look at the proposed Community, Training and High Performance Centre shows a contemporary facility designed for both multi-purpose and specialised use, with sleek lines complementing the pandanus-inspired architecture of its new stadium neighbour.
With a total project estimate of $50 million, the Cowboys are seeking funding support from the major parties as part of Townsville Enterprise’s federal election priorities submission, with the balance to be raised through club resources, as well as corporate, community and philanthropic sources.
Cowboys chairman Laurence Lancini described the new facilities as ‘essential’.
“The Cowboys team and club were built by our community from the ground up. We are now ready for a new community-focussed facility to make sure the Cowboys are a force in the NRL for the next 50 years," Mr Lancini said.
"As a community club, we are eager to partner with the Mater Hospital and James Cook University to provide specialised services to the broader community and to our NRL team.
"The National Rugby League is an elite and highly-competitive sport, and clubs are continuously building their levels of professionalism through investment, research and resourcing – it is crucial that the Cowboys remain competitive in this environment.
“We’re seeing many NRL clubs investing in high performance centres that can give their athletes the best possible advantage, and we need to prioritise accordingly to ensure our great club’s growth and sustainability.
“This facility will give us the opportunity to reunite our home base with our new home ground – even with fast-tracking, there would be a period of time where our facilities would be split and we want to minimise this.
The 17,000m² site adjacent to North Queensland Stadium, located within the Townsville City Waterfront Priority Development Area, will incorporate a full-sized training field (approximately 12,000m²) and provide modern facilities currently unavailable in Townsville, including:
- High-performance athletic training environment, including altitude and heat training facilities
- Co-located orthopaedic/sports medicine consulting, sports science and research facilities, as well as on-site sports medical consulting and rehabilitation services. (Cowboys, JCU and Mater Hospital are currently in advanced discussions around these arrangements.)
- Centrally-located meeting and office space for North Queensland Toyota Cowboys and Cowboys Community Foundation administration teams
- Platform to expand the Cowboys’ commitment to supporting North Queensland’s elite sporting female talent, including its Memorandum of Understanding with the Townsville Fire and development of local female grassroots rugby league talent
Cowboys CEO Jeff Reibel said the new Centre will generate significant economic and social benefits for the region’s members, fans and wider community.
“The new Centre will not only support the Cowboys’ training and performance needs but will also provide other North Queensland athletes and sporting teams with access to first-class facilities,” Mr Reibel said.
“We also see great opportunity for Townsville and North Queensland as a new destination market for touring sporting teams looking for cutting-edge sports science and training facilities closer to Papua New Guinea and Asia than are currently available.
“We will also be able to expand our important work in improving social and education outcomes for North Queenslanders through our club and Cowboys Community Foundation programs, with access to a larger, centrally-located operations hub and meeting space.
Cowboys legend and life member Johnathan Thurston added his voice to the campaign for the new Cowboys HQ.
“I’ve had a look at the plans and proposed facilities and the vision for the new Cowboys home base is very impressive,” Mr Thurston said.
“The long-term plan for the stadium precinct is really exciting and shows the commitment our club and city leaders have to our community’s future.
Associate Professor Fiona Barnett from JCU’s Sport and Exercise Science discipline said the University is excited to partner with the Cowboys on this project.
“We have a longstanding partnership with the Cowboys, particularly in high performance and elite sports research," A/Prof Barnett said.
Mayor of Townsville Cr Jenny Hill welcomed the project and pointed to the Centre as a missing piece in the City’s sporting infrastructure.
“This facility will give the city another string to its economic bow,” Cr Hill said.
“The Cowboys are well known for their exploits on the field and for their athletic supremacy, so it makes sense for other teams to visit and train in our city to emulate the Cowboys and to benefit from the tropical training phenomenon in a first class facility.
Townsville Enterprise CEO Patricia O’Callaghan applauded the collaboration between major local institutions to promote such an opportunity to the Townsville North Queensland region.
“The proposed partnership between the Cowboys, James Cook University and Mater Health Services, and their commitment to deliver local jobs and economic benefits to the community and broader region is to be commended," Ms O'Callaghan said.
Key club representatives have travelled to the USA and throughout Australia to view established high performance centres as part of the Cowboys’ research and needs analysis for their new facilities.