NQ Cowboys to ride into town for Titans battle?

PERFECT STORM: Titans halfback Ash Taylor is rounded up by Melbourne's Cameron Munster.
PERFECT STORM: Titans halfback Ash Taylor is rounded up by Melbourne's Cameron Munster. DAVE HUNT

AFTER yesterday's news that Gladstone will host a Titans' NRL game next year one question remains - just who will the Titans play?

The match at Marley Brown Oval will be a Gold Coast Titans home game as the club are in need of alternate venues due to the 2018 Commonwealth Games being held on the Gold Coast from April 4-15.

To engage further with rugby league's heartland, the NRL has scheduled matches across seven different regional locations in NSW and Queensland as part of the 2018 season.

The Titans will take two matches to regional centres with the other venue confirmed as Toowoomba.

It is understood the Gladstone match will be in either Round 3 or 5 while the Titans' Cbus Stadium home ground is being used for Rugby 7s.

Gladstone Junior Rugby League 2017 grand final day - Marley Brown Oval grandstand full of colour and packed to capacity.
Gladstone Junior Rugby League 2017 grand final day - Marley Brown Oval grandstand full of colour and packed to capacity. Matt Harris

Details regarding the 2018 draw are limited at this stage, although the NRL has released information regarding four 'double header' matches to be played during the first half of the season.

The Titans will feature in one of those fixtures, in Round 10 against the Melbourne Storm at Brisbane's Suncorp Stadium.

The season will open with a double header at the new Perth Stadium featuring the Bulldogs against the Rabbitohs and 2017 Premiers Melbourne Storm taking on New Zealand Warriors.

The Rabbitohs, Sea Eagles, Eels and Sharks will all be involved in an ANZ Stadium double header at Sydney in Round 3, while Round 5 will see an Auckland double header featuring Wests Tigers v Melbourne and Warriors v Cowboys.

Suncorp Stadium will host the final double header fixture in Round 10 featuring Manly, Melbourne, Brisbane and the Titans.

Gladstone Region mayor Matt Burnett says Gladstone has requested a North Queensland Cowboys or Storm game as its first two preferences, with the Parramatta Eels and Penrith Panthers also in the running.

"We're not sure who (the Titans) are going to be playing, but I made it very clear to the Titans and the NRL that we believe the most successful game for Gladstone would be the Cowboys or the Storm," Cr Burnett said.

"The (Brisbane) Broncos are out of the question... we love the Broncos but in order to host them you need a capacity in excess of 20,000 people.

"We put forward in order the Cowboys, Storm, Parramatta and Penrith."

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So which team can we rule in or out of contention to come to Gladstone?

Unfortunately it won't be the Broncos for obvious reasons.

The NRL's most supported side had an average home attendance of 31,394 this season and while the Marley Brown match-up is technically a Titans home game, more than 21,000 fans attended the Round 22 derby against Brisbane at Robina's Cbus Super Stadium.

Marley Brown Oval can only hold up to 8000 people.

When the game is played will have a significant bearing on who will come to town.

If the match is scheduled for Round 3, the Rabbitohs, Sea Eagles, Eels and Sharks can all be ruled out due to the ANZ Stadium double header, although that keeps the Cowboys and Storm option on the table.

However, if the match gets pencilled in for Round 5 the Storm and Cowboys won't be coming due to the Auckland double header.

That equation would also rule out the Wests Tigers and Warriors.

Cr Burnett also said he'd prefer if the Bulldogs weren't chosen as the Titans' opposition, even though he's a supporter of the club.

"I don't want anyone saying 'the mayor's spending our money and doing all this work just to get his football team here'," he said.

"So I'm actually hoping it will be anyone but the Bulldogs."

Topics:  gladstone rugby league gold coast titans marley brown oval nrl nrl season 2018

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