'The real work begins': Journey towards Titans kicks off
NOW it's time for the hard work to begin.
That's the message from Gladstone Rugby League president Richard Duff after Gold Coast Titans officials visited Marley Brown Oval yesterday to inspect the site which will host the historic clash.
Mr Duff said plans to have the ground ready for the 2018 season are already well under way.
"It's a massive announcement, not only for rugby league but the Gladstone community as well," Mr Duff said.
"We've got a scaffold grandstand that's got to go up. The playing surface has got to be sorted out, there's a lot that needs sorting," he said.
"The announcement is great but now the real work begins.
"Hopefully we can comfortably seat 8000 and the grandstand along the southern side will go the whole length (of the field).
"We just have to work with our scaffolding contractors about how high we can build it.
"They'll be here on Tuesday to have a look."
Mr Duff was adamant all works would be completed in time for the match, likely to be in late March or early April in Round 3 or 5, with a due date for the new multi-purpose facility at the eastern end of the ground set for February.
The match will likely be held on a Saturday afternoon due to the floodlights at Marley Brown not being suitable for television coverage.
The GRL are planning a festival of football on the day and are looking to lure the CQ Capras as a curtain raiser.
However, not everyone is happy with the announcement with Member for Whitsunday, Jason Costigan blasting the Palaszczuk Government over its decision to overlook Mackay for an NRL match.
Mr Costigan posted numerous times on his Facebook page regarding the decision.
"Great news for Gladstone but this is another case of the Palaszczuk Labor Government letting us down here in Mackay and the Whitsundays where we have successfully hosted NRL games in the past under the former LNP State Government," one post read.
"After all, our regional stadium, far superior to Gladstone's Marley Brown Oval, recently hosted Elton John in what was a huge success! Put simply, this isn't about tourism, bums on beds or growing the NRL... it's all about politics and pulling in votes, just before an election."
Gladstone Region mayor Matt Burnett hit back at Mr Costigan's statement, labelling it as "political point scoring".
"Quite frankly I don't know how anyone would want to take this game away from Gladstone," Cr Burnett said.
"We've been working on this a long time and I didn't see the Member for Whitsunday banging on the door of the Titans at any stage.
"I've been to the stadium in Mackay and I know they've got good facilities... they've hosted NRL games before and they'll have them again.
"They didn't lobby for this game and that's why they didn't get it.
"For someone to be trying to grab political point scoring off a football match for our community you've got to be kidding yourself."
Just who the Titans play remains mystery with their opponents likely to be determined depending on which round the match will be played in.
Cr Burnett has requested a Cowboys or Storm game, with Parramatta and Penrith also on the short list.
An online poll conducted by The Observer revealed 59% of readers wanted to see the Cowboys ride into town.