Queensland Cricket, AFL Queensland and Townsville City Council have worked together to switch two rounds of the Marsh Sheffield Shield and Marsh One Day competition to reschedule games at Riverway Stadium.
The decision will enable the AFL Townsville Grand Finals to be staged as planned at Riverway Stadium on 11 September before preparing the venue for cricket.
The Queensland Bulls will now open their season at Ian Healy Oval at Norths from 28 September when they host Tasmania in the inaugural first class match at the venue, before tackling the Tigers in a one-dayer on 3 October.
They will travel north to host South Australia in the round three Shield game from 25 October and then take on the Redbacks on 30 October in a one-day clash.
It will be the first Shield match at the North Queensland venue since 2016-17, while the last one-dayer was held there in 2018-19.
The rescheduled fixtures now mean that Norths will host a double-header round of limited over cricket with the Queensland Fire playing Victoria on Sunday 3 October in a Women’s National Cricket League clash at the adjacent Alan Pettigrew Oval.
The reigning champion Queensland Fire will play three WNCL games at the Shaw Road complex during the season, with their opening game against Victoria on Friday 1 October.
Queensland Cricket CEO Terry Svenson said QC, Cricket Australia and AFL Queensland had acted promptly and decisively once the request to reschedule the originally scheduled games was made by the Townsville City Council.
“We had made our booking in good faith but once the request came from Council for us to revisit that, we were able to address it satisfactorily. Fortunately, Cricket Tasmania and the South Australian Cricket Association were understanding of things and could make the necessary arrangements,’’ he said.
“We’re also grateful to Norths for being flexible and able to accommodate the switch. The prospect of both the Bulls and Fire playing on the same day at the same complex is an unintended, but welcome, consequence and we’re excited about the chance to showcase them at Norths.”
“Equally, we’re sure the local sporting community in Townsville will get behind our event when we stage two national competition fixtures at Riverway Stadium for the first time in some years.
“Queensland Cricket’s long-standing position is that it is a priority to take high class games to the regions where possible. That aim has been backed by the enthusiastic support of local government and local cricket bodies and we will continue to work towards making it a reality in the future.”
Head of AFL Queensland, Trisha Squires, said she was pleased the three organisations could work together to find a mutually beneficial solution for all parties.
“To support the AFL clubs in Townsville, we wanted to ensure that the AFL Townsville Grand Finals could be played as planned at the city’s premier AFL venue,” she said.
“We thank Queensland Cricket and Townsville City Council for honouring our commitment to staging the grand finals at Riverway Stadium and we look forward to presenting a great finals series for the Townsville footy community.”
Townsville Mayor Jenny Hill thanked each of the sporting bodies for their professional approach to the scheduling change.
“We thank everyone from cricket and AFL who has worked together to reach the best outcome for all parties and for the city by continuing to showcase both our local clubs and a national competition,’’ Cr Hill said.
“Council greatly appreciates the understanding and flexibility that Queensland Cricket, Cricket Australia and AFL Queensland have displayed, and we look forward to continuing to work closely with them in the future.
“It is a boost for Townsville to have more national sporting competitions showcasing themselves in our region, with the Bulls matches joining the State of Origin and Supercars as welcome visitors to Townsville this year,” she said.