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Townsville To Host 'Hybrid Footy' Tournament

Townsville has been chosen to host a hybrid football tournament.

Come next February, teams from around Australia will flock to The Strand to play a modified Rugby League, Rugby Union and Touch Football match.

The game is already loved in Europe and has been trialled with great success on the Gold Coast.  

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In what will be a Townsville first, the tournament will be headlined by Johnathan Thurston and Lote Tuqiri, and has been secured for Townsville through assistance from the Townsville Enterprise Bid Fund and Townsville City Council.

Beach Rugby Australia event director Peter Hickey said he is hoping we love the game just as much as the Europeans do.

"We've adopted the same DNA here in Australia, the format is celebrate, party and play; we'd like to make the Northern Australian Beach Rugby Championships up in Townsville here as an annual event and put together more of a pre-season bonding session for both Rugby League and Union" he said.  

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Mr Hickey added, "Our ambassador for the Rugby side is dual international Lote Tuqiri and Lote, he sort of typifies both Rugby and Union and...we've got Johnathan Thurston putting together a team and we call them the 'Castle Kings'".

He said "It's a team of ten to 12 but there's only five players on the field at any one time and it's played five minutes each way with a one minute break so it's a fairly fast series and very entertaining".

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Mr Hickey added, “Townsville is very passionate about sport so it will be great to see the tournament bring that level of excitement and the great atmosphere to The Strand.

“Beach Rugby is one of the fastest growing sports in Europe, so to have it in Townsville next year is really exciting,” he said.

Continuing its support of local events, Townsville Enterprise was proud to provide funding assistance to secure the tournament in Townsville.

“Townsville Enterprise is thrilled to assist in bringing the 2020 Beach Rugby Northern Australian Championships to Townsville through funding supplied by the Townsville North Queensland Bid Fund,” said Townsville Enterprise CEO, Patricia O’Callaghan.

“It’s anticipated that the two-day event will inject almost $300,000 into the Townsville North Queensland economy, generated by over 500 visiting event attendees.

“This event will also provide Townsville the opportunity to showcase one of the jewels in our crown, The Strand, as well as our dining, shopping and tourism experiences on offer to visiting competitors.”

Local Councillor Ann-Maree Greaney said Townsville City Council was thrilled to be able to host the championships.

“This is a city that loves sport as much as it loves the beach, so this tournament is a match made in heaven for Townsville,” Cr Greaney said.

“Council is pleased to be able to offer in-kind support to the tournament.”

Beach Rugby is a contact, fast paced sport where stamina, tactics and ball handling skills are the basis of an exciting game for both the players and spectators.

The game of modified Rugby League, Rugby Union and Touch Football is being played at The Strand in Townsville on the 14-16 February 2020.

Registration is now open for teams wanting to participate in the social tournament via https://beachrugbyaustralia.com.au/townsville/.

By Rosie O'Brien and Michelle Brewer