MAIN GAME: Gladstone mayor Matt Burnett with Queensland Reds player JP Smith at Marley Brown Oval ahead of the National Rugby Championship match between Queensland Country and Brisbane City on September 28.
MAIN GAME: Gladstone mayor Matt Burnett with Queensland Reds player JP Smith at Marley Brown Oval ahead of the National Rugby Championship match between Queensland Country and Brisbane City on September 28. Matt Harris

More elite sport headed for Gladstone

GLADSTONE will have another opportunity to show off its love of sport later this month when a host of emerging rugby stars visit town for the National Rugby Championship.

Brisbane City will take on Queensland Country for the Round 5 NRC clash on September 28 at Marley Brown Oval.

The NRC is considered a main pathway to the Super Rugby competition and South African-born Brisbane City player JP Smith said it also helped unearth some of the country's best rugby talent.

"Most of the boys haven't been to Gladstone before, including myself,” Smith said.

"The more rugby union gets exposed here the more hidden talent gets exposed.”

Smith said players not involved in the build-up to the Rugby World Cup - to be held in Japan later this month - valued the NRC experience.

"About three quarters of the boys are local club players so that gives them a base to show their talent,” he said.

"It also gives the younger kids motivation to reach that level and then from there obviously the next step is Super Rugby.”

Gladstone mayor Matt Burnett said securing the NRC was part of a strategy to lure the Queensland Reds here.

"We've had NRL, touch and Brisbane Roar but we want the Reds here in the future and the way to do that is to prove to the NRC this is the venue to bring your game to Central Queensland,” Cr Burnett said.

"We've already sold over 100 tickets without even trying so the grandstand will sell out, so make sure you get in early.”

Tickets are $20 for grandstand seating and $15 for general admission.

Gates open at 12.30pm with a number of curtain-raiser matches taking place before the main event at 4pm.

Purchase tickets by phoning 49722822, visiting gladstone entertainment.com/nrc-union -game or in person at the GECC box office.



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