THE Sunshine Coast Gympie Rugby League has locked in its field of dreams for grand final day – now it is hoping to transform its showpiece event into a festival of football.
After meeting yesterday with Sunshine Coast Stadium officials, the SCGRL confirmed the new facility at Kawana would host the Saturday, September 10, local league decider.
League chief executive James Ward said he hoped to incorporate the region’s youngsters into the festivities and was in negotiations for all junior grand finals to be played at the same venue on the same weekend.
He was confident the move would not only prove a boon for crowd attendance, but also a deliver a huge thrill for the youngsters involved in such a big event.
“I’m in favour of it because in the discussions we’ve had, we’ve talked about the possibility of the junior teams getting experience on the new field,” he said.
“It’s something that the kids could really take away and remember for years. “All of us old footballers remember our grand finals. It’s a great experience.”
He said there were a number of boxes to be ticked and Ts to be crossed before the plan could come to fruition and he hoped to work out a deal with Sunshine Coast Junior Rugby League officials in the next couple of weeks. Under his vision, the junior grand finals would be played across the Sunshine Coast Stadium main field and the adjoining Stockland Park secondary field over the course of Friday and Saturday, culminating in the twilight kick-off of the senior grand final.
“I’d like to view our game as the one entity and the same product, to look at the whole of rugby league. I think that’s a really healthy approach,” Ward said. “Whether we can come together on the subject is another discussion, but I think we’re moving in the right direction.”
Last year’s senior grand final was held at the Nambour Showgrounds and Ward said it was with a tinge of sadness that the organising body had taken the event away from the iconic Coast venue.
He said, however, it was almost impossible to pass up the opportunity to play such an important match at the newly built $10 million stadium.
“It (Sunshine Coast Stadium) is a state-of-the-art grandstand,” Ward said. “The way it’s set up, the access, the viewing area, the CCTV system, the PA, the announcing boxes, everything’s just great."
“It lends itself to hosting sizeable events. It’s something that the kids could really take away and remember for years”
Sunshine Coast Daily, 23 June 2011 - See full article here