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Author Topic: The Ball up North. Really North  (Read 709 times)
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Chris Connolly
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All I Do Is Win

« on: April 21, 2010, 07:19:06 AM »

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THE CAZALY Stadium in Cairns could host its first AFL home-and-away match in 2011 with Gold Coast a chance to play at least one home game there early next season.

With the Carrara Stadium redevelopment expected to extend into at least May next year, the Gabba remains the most obvious ground for Gold Coast to host its first few games.

However, Cairns - which has hosted pre-season matches before - has become an option for the new team, despite chief executive Travis Auld keen to keep its home games close by.

"We need some [home] games early on to reward all those people in the community who have come and supported us. They need to be able to see their team," he told afl.com.au.

"What we need to determine is, if we want to play as many home games at Carrara Stadium in the second half of the year, how many away games can we play early on?"

"It's a really interesting balance so if we can play a couple of games at the Gabba and maybe a game in Cairns and maybe one locally, it could work."

The AFL said there were a "number of options", including Cazaly Stadium, to be considered as venues for the team's first opening home games.

"We still have a bit of a way to go to work through that process. The aim is to have the fixture ready, as always, by October," AFL marketing and commercial operations chief Gillon McLachlan said.

"We'll try to have a lot of this work done by June or July to give us an idea of how Gold Coast's first season in the competition will begin."

The completion of Carrara Stadium is likely to be determined by south-east Queensland's unpredictable weather, which could affect the development of the ground's surface.

Auld said the project was on track and the players would get their training oval next door in time for the pre-season and a permanent administrative base would follow.

He said the club was keen to build a strong rivalry with state compatriot the Brisbane Lions but did not want to meet them in its first AFL game.

"In my view, in round one you would waste an opportunity if you played Brisbane," he said.

"We're going to create a really good rivalry with Brisbane and it's silly to have that in round one when you could generate some serious interest around the game if it was round three or five or seven.

"We'd rather reward the people who followed us from the start with the first game and then reward them again a couple of rounds later when we play Brisbane at the Gabba and hopefully fill the stadium."

Gold Coast's supporter base is rapidly expanding as its entry date nears, with over 4000 members signed and 40,000 "fans" registered from the 150,000 supporters of the game living on the Coast.

Auld said the immediate challenges met by the stadium's incompletion were worth it in the long term.

"The upside is we'll have a brand new stadium in year one. The challenge for us in all of that is you've got to sell fresh air and hope and expectation in 2010," he said.

"Right now, we're going out to the community saying we need your support now on the back on what we can deliver in 2011.

"It will help us build a really viable, successful footy club.
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