The North Queensland Toyota Cowboys will kick off a fresh era at the brand new North Queensland Stadium with a blockbuster Round 1 clash against arch rivals Brisbane to begin the 2020 NRL season.
The primetime Friday night showdown marks the first ever rugby league match to be played at the state of the art stadium in the heart of Townsville.
Brisbane’s season-opening visit is just one of a number of mouth-watering clashes set down for the Cowboys’ maiden season at North Queensland Stadium.
Perennial premiership contenders Melbourne travel north for a Thursday night meeting in Round 6.
A proud garrison city, Townsville will host an Anzac Day match for the first time since 2009, with the Cowboys to face the Bulldogs at 6pm.
In Round 11, the Cowboys will celebrate Indigenous Round at home, recognising the contribution of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island culture to our game and region.
Reigning premiers the Roosters will make their first trip to North Queensland since 2016 for a fan-friendly Saturday afternoon battle in Round 13.
The Cowboys will also host a rare Sunday evening game when Newcastle visits in Round 17.
Paul Green’s men won’t face grand finalists Canberra until a Saturday night clash in Round 20. The Raiders are one of six teams, including St George Illawarra, South Sydney, Wests Tigers, Penrith and Manly, the Cowboys face only once in 2020.
Highlights of the away draw include the Round 5 return leg against Brisbane at Suncorp Stadium, a Magic Round tussle with the Roosters in Round 8 and a clash with Melbourne in Round 21.
Cowboys CEO Jeff Reibel commended the NRL for scheduling the Broncos clash to open North Queensland Stadium in Round 1.
“We’re very excited to kick off the new season in our new home with our traditional rivals,” he said.
“It’s the blockbuster that the opening of our new stadium deserves and gives us a chance to thank all of North Queensland for all their efforts and support in making this magnificent project happen.
“The NRL made a promise to consult on the draw and they did. They have given us the best opportunity to attract supporters to experience the game live, while making sure we still have a very strong broadcast product which is very important to our game.”
Reibel also said the draw was favourable for Cowboys members and fans with seven of the 12 games set down for North Queensland Stadium on Saturdays as well as games in school holidays.
“To have more than half of our home games in the Saturday timeslot is a massive win for our members and supporters,” he said.
“We’re excited to be hosting two of three NRL themed Rounds, celebrating Anzac and Indigenous Rounds at home.
“We belong to a proud garrison city and we’re privileged to have the opportunity to host a game on Anzac Day.
“We feel honoured to receive the opportunity to host Indigenous Round where we will recognise the contribution of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island culture.
“We’re also thrilled about hosting two games during school holidays, with a Thursday game against the Storm in the Easter holidays and a Sunday game against the Knights on the last weekend of July school holidays.
“Overall we believe it’s a balanced draw. It honours our request for North Queenslanders to have the best access possible to the new stadium and ensures commercial viability for clubs by sharing in the rotation of slots that are a priority for our broadcast partners.”
Cowboys draw breakdown