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Maroons set to inspire Cairns region ahead of crucial Origin clash

The tropical Far North beckons for Queensland’s State of Origin team following confirmation today that Billy Slater’s Maroons will embark on an historic trip to Cairns to inspire another generation of regional Queenslanders.

With the backing of Cairns Regional Council and the Queensland Rugby League, the Maroons will travel north before Game III of the series to engage with fans at Barlow Park on Tuesday, July 4.

The action-packed fan day will provide an opportunity for supporters to watch the Maroons train and meet their favourite Origin players, who will also spend time with community groups and junior participants involved in Far North Queensland Rugby League (FNQRL) competitions.

Slater is excited about the opportunity to bring the Maroons to the Cairns region for the first time.  

“Being a local boy from Innisfail, I know how much rugby league means to the region, and I know how much this team means to the people up there,” Slater said.

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“It’s a great opportunity to be able to take the state’s most inspirational team there, and I think Cairns and the surrounding areas will be buzzing.

“Our Maroons fan days have a huge impact. I felt it as a player myself when we went out to places like Longreach, Emerald and Bundaberg … towns like that, especially if they’ve faced with a little bit of adversity. To see the enjoyment on faces is really special.”

Cairns Regional Council mayor Bob Manning said the event would inspire junior participants throughout the region.

“Cairns is regional rugby league heartland … always has been and always will be,” Manning said.

“It is so important that we bring the next set of youngsters up through the ranks and events like this, where the kids get to see their heroes and give them a high five are just so important.

“I remember being a young kid and watching my footballing heroes in Cairns, so I know the impact that an event like this can have on someone.

“When it comes to sport, there wouldn’t be a team that Queenslanders love more than the Maroons, so I am sure there’ll be a huge turnout for the fan day.”

QRL North chairman Clinton Begg acknowledged the commitment and support of both the Cairns Regional Council and the Maroons team.

“Fans in North Queensland are very passionate about the Maroons, so this opportunity for Cairns to host the fan day is really exciting for the region,” Begg said.

“The excitement that a five year-old gets from seeing the Maroons up close is something we should be embracing and cherishing.”

Begg said the Maroons’ visit to the region would provide another boost for the FNQRL.

“A lot of hard work has gone into the FNQRL over the last few years and I think this is a great reward for that as well,” Begg said.

“We’ve got a great team in QRL North who are very passionate about working with our clubs and volunteers to deliver rugby league in the area.

“Our participation numbers in FNQRL are really strong and that’s something that we’re very proud of and something that we’re going to continue to foster and grow.”

Fan Day schedule

Tuesday, July 4 at Barlow Park, Cairns

8.30am: Player signing and meet and greet

10.30am: Junior league clinic

11.30am: Maroons training session

Acknowledgement of Country

North Queensland Cowboys respect and honour the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.