Cowboys recruit Ben Barba at Cowboys HQ.
Cowboys recruit Ben Barba at Cowboys HQ. BEN LONERGAN

BREAKING: Mackay confirmed for major NRL showdown

Rugby League: Mackay has pulled off a major coup in securing an NRL pre-season trial match, with Ben Barba's North Queensland Cowboys set to go head-to-head with the Melbourne Storm at BB Print Stadium.

Less than a fortnight after missing out on an NRL season match for 2019, the city will host the two clubs at Cowboys' Queensland Cup feeder club the Mackay Cutters' home ground on March 2.

Cowboys Acting CEO Jeff Reibel said the club was deeply committed to engaging with members and fans across the whole of the club's footprint, with the March 2nd trial match the perfect way to connect with Mackay and surrounds.

"Mackay is true rugby league heartland and a true Cowboys heartland. We can't wait to get down there and play in March," Reibel said.

"It's truly special moment to take the game to our regions and to be able to run out in front of our North Queensland fans. I know we'll create more of these treasured memories on March 2."


Ben Barba makes his return to the field at the Mackay Indigenous Rugby League Carnival on Sunday, October 28, 2018.
Ben Barba makes his return to the field at the Mackay Indigenous Rugby League Carnival on Sunday, October 28. Daniel McKenzie

The match marks the 14th time the Cowboys have brought a game to Mackay in the past 18 seasons and Cutters CEO Troy Rovelli acknowledged the work of the Mackay Regional Council in their role in bringing the high profile clubs to the city.

"The council have been terrific every step of the way, and we can't thank them enough for the role they've played in making this match possible," Rovelli said.

"We know the people of Mackay love the Cowboys, they'll embrace this match and we look forward to packing out our stadium."

Mackay Mayor Greg Williamson said it was exciting the Cowboys were returning to Mackay for a pre-season NRL trial.

"The last time they were in town was in 2017 for the NRL trial game against the Sydney Roosters and we had a sell-out crowd to watch the game,'' Williamson said.

"They certainly have plenty of fans in our region and it is fantastic we'll get to see them in action against the 2017 NRL premiership winners and 2018 premiership contesting NRL team at BB Print Stadium Mackay.

"We've helped secure this game through our Invest Mackay Events and Conference Attraction program as it will provide an economic boost for the region."

Ticketing information for the match will be released at a later date.