26 December, 2020
Thumbs up to the Saints
THE Saints will head north once again, striking a deal with the AFL, Tourism and Events Queensland, Tourism Tropical North Queensland and the Cairns Regional Council to host a home game in Cairns in 2021.
The club will the return to the State it called home this year to play in front of its growing Queensland supporter base.
“We reflect fondly on our time in Queensland and like the whole competition, we owe a debt of gratitude to the Queensland Government for their assistance throughout the 2020 season,” Saints CEO Matt Finnis said.
“We’re thrilled to be able to partner with Tourism Tropical North Queensland, Tourism and Events Queensland and the Cairns Regional Council to extend our reach in the Sunshine State, while also playing our part in directing much needed funds into the local businesses of Cairns and surrounding areas.
“Tourism all over the world has been impacted this year and we hope this visit will not only see a great game of footy played, but also generate a festival atmosphere within the region.
“We can’t wait to make the trip and we hope to see plenty of Saints fans taking the opportunity to chase not only a win, but some winter sun as well.”
Tourism Minister Stirling Hinchliffe said it would be great to welcome the AFL back to Cairns in 2021, following such a successful run of games at Cazaly Stadium this year.
“Queensland became the unofficial home of the AFL in 2020, hosting 80 games in total, including four in Cairns and the historic twilight Grand Final at The Gabba, and we’re thrilled to be able to continue that relationship,” Mr Hinchliffe said.
“This match has been secured for Cairns through the North Queensland Events Recovery Package, ensuring we can support local jobs and the region’s COVID-19 economic recovery.
“When the Saints come marching north, we want their loyal fan base to come marching with them to enjoy a tropical holiday in the pristine surrounds of the Cairns and the Great Barrier Reef region.”
The Cairns match will replace the home fixture the Saints played in Shanghai in 2019, which was subsequently cancelled for 2020 and 2021 due to COVID-19. It will be scheduled immediately prior to the club’s mid-season bye.