RUGBY LEAGUE: Mackay District Rugby League chairman Troy Rovelli says the NRL didn't even contact him about bringing a fixture to the town in 2018.
Rovelli made the revelation after the NRL on Thursday confirmed a number of regional venues set to host fixtures next year.
The big winners from the announcement were Toowoomba and Gladstone. Both towns will host the Gold Coast Titans in the new season.
In 2018 games also will by hosted by the New South Wales towns of Mudgee, Tamworth, Bathurst and Gosford, as well as Cairns.
The announcement was trumpeted by NRL CEO Todd Greenberg who said the 2018 season will include the most number of regional locations in the competition's history.
"We have said for some time it was our strong desire to take more games to regional venues in 2018, and we're extremely happy to have been able to do that,” Greenberg said.
"It will be great to see so many people in regional areas being able to witness the best of rugby league up close in 2018.”
But as the game's governing body was celebrating, local stakeholders were seething about BB Print Stadium being ignored in favour of smaller venues.
Yesterday, Rovelli said he hadn't even been aware the NRL was looking for regional venues to host games in the new season.
"We didn't even get a look, we didn't even get asked,” Rovelli said.
"If we had our hat in the ring and lost out then so be it but we didn't even get the opportunity.”
The NRL last hosted a game in Mackay in 2013 when the Canterbury Bulldogs took on the Newcastle Knights in front of more than 6700 league fans.
Rovelli said the five-year absence of top flight rugby league in Mackay was likely to have a big impact on the growth of the game locally.
"Our young people need to see that there is a pathway and that the big picture is there,” he said. "Unless the games shows us some love, the kids are going to wonder what they are doing this for.
"We need to show them that there is something at the end.”
Curious Case of Capacities
Mackay's BB Print Stadium has a capacity of 10,000. That is 1000 more than the capacity of Clive Berghofer Stadium in Toowoomba, up to 3000 more than the capacity of Marley Brown Oval in Gladstone. A sell-out Mackay crowd would be bigger than more than 20 of this year's NRL fixtures.
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