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Cowboys to help Fire go one better

The North Queensland Toyota Cowboys will open their home to the JCU Townsville Fire for up to six weeks as part of the club’s pre-season build-up to the 2021-22 WNBL season.

The state-of-the-art Hutchinson Builders Centre will be used as Townsville Fire’s pre-season base for training, coaching and administrative operations ahead of their opening round of the season.

The Fire’s use of the Centre is part of a long-term plan to establish the facility as a world-class ecosystem for high performance training and sports science and medicine, supporting North Queensland’s elite sporting talent.

The Fire will make use of the high-performance areas on the ground floor of the Centre including the indoor training area which will be converted to a basketball court, gym and recovery pool while lecture theatres, multimedia facilities and meeting rooms on the first floor will allow administration staff to conduct day-to-day operations.

Cowboys welcome Fire for preseason

Cowboys CEO Jeff Reibel said opening the facility to the Fire is part of a vision to attract elite level sporting organisations and other codes to make use of the Hutchinson Builders Centre.

To have this diversification here and to be able to offer these ladies the best opportunity to prepare for their season, we’re really proud to be able to play our part in that.

Jeff Reibel

“We have a regular partnership in place with Football (Soccer) North Queensland, we’ve hosted the Oceania 7’s rugby teams, the Wallabies and All-Blacks and now to be able to welcome JCU Townsville Fire as the only professional female sporting team in Northern Australia to the Centre is an exciting collaboration for us.

“Part of why we built the indoor training area to the size it is was to ensure the Hutchinson Builders Centre had a multiuse nature; so, with further investment into a pinewood floor we could turn that indoor training field which we use as a kicking space, into something that could cater for sports including basketball, volleyball or netball.”

A pinewood floor used during the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games will be laid in the indoor training area for use by the Townsville Fire.

JCU Townsville Fire General Manager Sam Pascoe said a strong pre-season will be pivotal to ensuring the side can go one better than their narrow grand final loss last season.

There’s no other club in the WNBL who has access to these kinds of facilities, so for us it’s hopefully going to strengthen our pre-season and how we perform on the court, helping us to reach our goal of going one-better.

Sam Pascoe

“We took Australian Opal and marquee signing Lauren Nicholson on a tour through the facility recently and the athletes are really looking forward to making the facility their own for pre-season.

“We have a new home for playing at the Townsville Entertainment Centre which I think is fantastic on many levels, providing fans, members and sponsors a fantastic game day experience but more importantly offering our players a chance to play on the biggest stage in Townsville, and now having access to the High Performance Centre will be a great start to what is set to be a big year for the Townsville Fire.”

The North Queensland Toyota Cowboys and JCU Townsville Fire have enjoyed a long-term close partnership with the use of the Hutchinson Builders Centre as the Fire’s pre-season base further strengthening the collaboration between the two clubs.

The Hutchinson Builders Centre combines community areas, multi-sport high-performance training spaces, sports medicine and sports science laboratories on a 5,000m² parcel of land.

The Cowboys have a long-term development lease with Townsville City Council for use of the land, which includes a user agreement for the adjacent 12,000m² community training field.

Last month, the Hutchinson Builders Centre was named North Queensland Project of the Year and best sporting facility at the Master Builders North Queensland Housing and Construction Awards.