Sunshine Coast Stadium will become an international American football (gridiron) venue for the first time when Trans-Tasman rivals Australia and New Zealand meet in an Under 19 World Cup qualifier on Saturday, July 11.
Mayor Mark Jamieson launched the game today, saying he was looking forward to seeing football of a different kind played at the Coast's premier sporting venue.
"This is the first International of its kind to be contested between New Zealand and Australia at the Stadium and we're very happy to be able to host something new and exciting for the Sunshine Coast," Mayor Jamieson said.
"This match will determine the Oceania representative in the 2016 Under 19 World Championships in the United States so there's going to be plenty on the line.
"The Australian team has representatives from almost every state and I'm sure they, as well as the New Zealanders, will enjoy the time they spend on the Coast.
"It's also a new challenge for our Council staff at the Stadium who will have to transform the first-class playing field into a gridiron arena with its different linemarkings and associated facilities."
Four Sunshine Coast-based players – Jason Gough, William Outridge, Benjamin Graham and Brendan England – are in the 45-member Australian squad which was selected following the national championships in Perth in Easter. Queensland defeated Western Australia 12-6 in the final.
Australia has competed in the last three World Championships at a senior level but has never qualified for the Under-19 finals, falling one game short in 2010 (against New Zealand) and again in 2012 (against American Samoa).
Two members of the 2010 Australian team – Jesse Williams and Jordan Berry – went on to sign NFL contracts with the Seattle Seahawks and Pittsburgh Steelers respectively.
Gridiron Australia is the governing body for the sport in Australia, while the International Federation of American Football (IFAF) is the world governing body with 70 countries playing the sport worldwide.
Australia is a part of IFAF Oceania which also includes New Zealand, Tonga and American Samoa.
The Under 19 World Cup is held every two years with the 2016 tournament to be held in Canton, Ohio, in July.
A Ghosts of Gridiron game will take place before the World Cup qualifier which will kick off at 2pm.
Tickets are $10 adult and $5 concession with under 16s free.
Sunshine Coast Regional Council
Courtesy of My Sunshine Coast