Queensland: The Kicker

Queensland: The Kicker

Its amazing what you get if you ask. Queensland Cowboys Captain Jonathan Thurston discovered the power of stating a case baldly and simply after he’d captained the Queensland Cowboys National Rugby League team to its first-ever premiership victory in 2015. Rated as one of the greatest individuals ever to have played the game, Thurston won the Grand Final for his team in fairy-tale fashion by kicking a “golden point”  field goal in extra time.

On stage with the then Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull to celebrate the win, Thurston said he believed North Queensland deserved a new stadium. His on-field deeds and aftermatch comments received huge media coverage, and contributed significant momentum to the campaign for a new stadium, resulting in a start to construction in May 2018.

The North Queensland Stadium is a 25,000-seat facility, with the potential to expand to 30,000 seats in the future.  Its partners aim to create a world-class facility that retains the warmth and community-feel of a local sporting ground, reflecting the region’s relaxed personality and lifestyle.  

The new stadium will sit above the banks of the Ross River, close to Townsville’s harbour. NQS is being funded by state and federal governments, the Townsville City Council and the North Queensland Cowboys. It is part of the ‘Townsville City Deal’, a 15 year initiative to deliver a range of projects, including water security, infrastructure and economic growth to Townsville's residents . Construction company Watpac is building the stadium and Cox Architecture partnered with Counterpoint Architects to deliver the blueprint.

Cox has stated that it believes its design is a response to the environmental qualities and unique identity of its location, seeking to echo something of the local character.  “Our approach was to design ‘open, breathable spaces’ with soft edges, operable elements and permeable screens. A choice of local materials, including stone and timber, reference a relaxed lifestyle.”, notes the Cox Architecture website The partners believe NQS will draw both tourists and locals into Townsville’s city heart, contributing to urban development of the waterfront and CBD.

The challenge has always been to complete the project before the start of the 2020 NRL season. The NQS construction programme received a significant set back, however, with the torrential rain which flooded Queensland in early February 2019. Although 100,000m3 of fill had been used to raise the building platform, preventing overland flooding, waterlogging meant contractors lost valuable time. The symbolic power of getting the North Queensland Cowboys into the new stadium by 2020 is galvanising politicians and builders alike in what is now a frantic race against time.