The AFL today announced a Toyota AFL Premiership Season match for Cazalys Stadium, Cairns in the 2016.
The match, to be held in Round 17 on Saturday July 16 at 7:25pm EST, will see the Western Bulldogs host the Gold Coast SUNS.
Simon Lethlean, the AFL Executive Team Member responsible for the 2016 fixture, thanked the Queensland Government and Cairns Regional Council for their continued support in taking the match to the region.
“We know North Queensland fans are passionate about AFL, and with the support of the Queensland Government, through Tourism and Events Queensland, and Cairns Regional Council we are thrilled to bring a match to the region for the sixth straight year,” he said.
“The region has continued to benefit from live AFL as we have seen by strong participation numbers across all levels of competitions and programs over the past five seasons.
“This is the first time that we will hold the Cazalys match at night starting at 7:25pm, opposed to the previous twilight time slot, providing great atmosphere for fans at the venue,” Mr Lethlean said.
Minister for Tourism and Major Events, Kate Jones, confirmed Tourism and Events Queensland would support the Cairns Toyota AFL Premiership Season match in 2016 following the success of previous events.
“The 2015 AFL Premiership season match in Cairns resulted in direct spending of $2.7 million and more than 12,000 direct visitor nights in Queensland,” Minister Jones said.
“Events such as the Toyota AFL Premiership match in Cairns play an important role in promoting a destination, driving visitation, generating jobs and fostering community pride.
“The Palaszczuk Government is committed to growing tourism in Queensland and continuing our partnership with the AFL into 2016.
“The Toyota AFL Premiership match in Cairns is one of many world-class sporting events supported by Tourism and Events Queensland as part of the It’s Live! In Queensland events calendar.”
Mayor of Cairns Cr Bob Manning said the Council was looking forward to welcoming the match back to the city for another year.
“Council is again proud to be able to work with the AFL and Tourism and Events Queensland to bring AFL to Cairns. These games showcase AFL to the Far North Queensland community and promote growth of the sport in our region,” Cr Manning said.
“For our community this match provides an opportunity for local fans the chance to see their heroes in action. Previous matches in Cairns have drawn big crowds and I’m sure next year’s clash will be no different.”
Western Bulldogs CEO David Stevenson said Cazalys Stadium has become a home away from home and the Club is pleased to return in 2016.
“Our home game in Cairns has become an important part of our fixture, and we are thrilled to be returning for the third consecutive year in 2016,” Mr Stevenson said.
“We all have an important role to play in helping grow our great game, and we embrace the opportunity to take our club to communities like Cairns, who are unmistakably passionate about football.
“Our players, coaches and staff have thoroughly enjoyed connecting with the North Queensland community, along with our dedicated supporters who travel from around the country to attend the game — we look forward to strengthening that connection yet again next year,” he said.
Gold Coast SUNS CEO Andrew Travis said the Club was pleased the match was confirmed for another season allowing further engagement with North Queensland.
“We always look forward to returning to Cairns for what promises to be another exciting game of AFL football in Far North Queensland,” Mr Travis said.
“As a club we have established significant support in Cairns and enjoy playing our role in developing AFL throughout the region, which is also a key recruitment catchment for the Gold Coast SUNS Talent Academy.
“In the past, through community camps, pre-season games and AFL premiership fixtures, the Gold Coast Football Club has and will continue to support the growth of AFL in Far North Queensland,” he said.
AFL Cairns, the affiliate league who run the local community competitions, also own and manage the Cazalys Stadium venue.
AFL Cairns President, Gary Young, said the league was delighted that the match was returning to the region.
“We’re passionate about AFL in the Tropical North and we couldn’t be happier that the match is returning for a sixth straight year,” he said.
“The match provides us a platform to engage the wider community through coaching sessions with presentations by AFL coaches and NAB AFL Auskick and Junior Football Clinics for kids of all ages.”
This will be the sixth Toyota AFL Premiership Season match to be played in the Tropical North and the third time the Western Bulldogs have played an AFL match in Cairns.
AFL fans can secure their reserved match tickets, flights and accommodation for the game from this Thursday, October 29, by booking an AFL Travel Package available at afltravel.com.au/cairns
Over 11,000 people are expected to attend the match on Saturday July 16 at 7:25pm local time.
For ticket on-sale date, venue and match information please visit: AFL.com.au/tickets
A limited number of corporate hospitality opportunities will be available and for further information please contact AFL Cairns on 07 4042 3000.