The Sunshine Coast will host a second NRL premiership fixture in 2020 and 2021, with Sunshine Coast Council and the Cronulla Sharks forming a new commercial partnership.
Under the agreement, Cronulla will play one of its allocated ‘home’ games at Sunshine Coast Stadium for each of the next two years.
Mayor Mark Jamieson said the new partnership was another huge vote of confidence in the Sunshine Coast which proved its credentials as an NRL premiership host venue in April this year, when a sell-out crowd attended the Round 5 clash between South Sydney and the New Zealand Warriors.
“I’m delighted to announce that the Cronulla Sharks have put their faith in the Sunshine Coast to stage one of their NRL premiership home games here in 2020 and 2021,” Mayor Jamieson said.
“The Sunshine Coast hosted its first premiership fixture in April this year when the Rabbitohs and Warriors played before a sell-out crowd at Sunshine Coast Stadium.
“Next year the Sunshine Coast will become the only regional destination in Australia to host two NRL clubs in the one season when the Rabbitohs return and the Sharks play here for the first time.
“Council has worked hard to increase our presence in the NRL and for two clubs to choose our region as their home away from home is a tremendous vote of confidence.
“Our inaugural NRL match in April was also a tremendous success from an economic point of view, with hundreds of supporters flying in for the game from interstate and New Zealand.
“We’d love to see plenty of Sharks fans head to the Sunshine Coast next year for what will be another terrific event, including their number one fan, Prime Minister Scott Morrison.
“I am meeting with the Prime Minister this morning in Canberra and I will be extending a personal invitation to him to come to the Sunshine Coast when the Sharks play here next year.
“Although we won’t know the dates for next year’s matches at Sunshine Coast Stadium until the 2020 NRL draw is announced in a few weeks, I’m sure our passionate rugby league community will be extremely keen to support both the Sharks and Rabbitohs like they did in April.”
Sharks CEO Richard Munro said the club was already looking forward to heading to the Sunshine Coast in 2020 and 2021.
“We are excited about having the opportunity to take a game to the Sunshine Coast in 2020. It’s a wonderful venue, a great part of the world, already our members and fans are expressing an interest about heading up there to support the team and we also look forward to showcasing the Sharks to not only our fans but to all rugby league supporters on the Sunshine Coast,” Mr Munro said.
Tourism, Sports and Events Portfolio Cr Jason O’Pray said the Sharks and Rabbitohs partnerships added to the Sunshine Coast’s reputation as a leading destination for elite sports teams and sporting events.
“Our success in hosting and supporting a wide range of sporting activity and events has built our reputation to the point where we are now getting more opportunities on the national and international stage,” Cr O’Pray said.
“We made our inaugural NRL game in April one to remember and it’s fantastic that we’ll have two NRL opportunities next year and in 2021 to showcase our region to a national audience and our own passionate sports-loving community.
“We anticipate that both of next year’s NRL games will be significant drawcards for supporters from around Queensland and interstate leading to a significant boost for the local economy.”