The NT Thunder – and Labrador and Broadbeach – have been forced off their AFL-quality stadium at Marrara for their August clashes.

Wednesday 30 June 2010

The NT Thunder – and Labrador and Broadbeach – have been forced off their AFL-quality stadium at Marrara from the final two matches of the QAFL season due to a cricket tournament, reports NT News’ Jess Webster.

The NT Government announced yesterday that the Victorian Bushrangers, fellow KFC Big Bash finalists the South Australian Redbacks and the Queensland Bulls will play in a triangular series at TIO Stadium in August.

Cricket Australia have scheduled the matches as a warm-up for the Victorians and South Australians before they head to South Africa for the $12million Champions League Twenty20 tournament.

The warm-up tournament overlaps with the Thunder’s final two home games against Labrador and Broadbeach, which have been transferred to the picturesque Gardens Oval.

“Our preference is to play at TIO Stadium because it has the best facilities for our players, our supporters and our sponsors,” Thunder CEO Stuart Totham said.

“But understanding that the Government can take control of the oval back, we’ve just got to work with them to get to Gardens Oval up to speed and get on with it.”

“The NT Government have given their full support to us to get Gardens Oval ready for our games – and ready means coaches boxes, making sure we are meeting our sponsorship obligations, and making sure that it’s a cost and revenue neutral exercise for the club.”

Both the Rounds 17 and 18 games were scheduled for 7pm but have been moved to 3.30pm as Gardens Oval has no lights.

The move does give the Thunder the chance to return to the former home of football in the Territory, and it will be the first interstate matches played at the venue since 1991 when Hawthorn took on a Northern Territory representative side.

“I think once you get your head around the change, it’s going to be a wonderful thing to see NT Thunder playing at Gardens Oval,” Totham said.

“Our players and coaches are looking forward to it.”

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