BY STAFF WRITERS
The Willows Sports Complex has had many names. 1300Smiles Stadium, Dairy Farmers, Stockland, Malanda. But most importantly, it’s been home to the North Queensland Cowboys and their fans since 1995.
That all changes soon as the club prepares to move into its new digs.
On Thursday night, the Cowboys play their last ever match at their spiritual home. Ironically, it will be against the team they shared opening night with all those years ago – Canterbury.
FIRST EVER HOME MATCH – 1995
COWBOYS BEAT BRONCOS IN HOME SEMI – 2004
THURSTON’S LAST HOME GAME – 2018
Some fans from the North Queensland Cowboys Stampede were also nice enough to tell the81stminute.com about some of their favourite memories…
“Watching my nephew Scott Bolton making his NRL debut in 2007. Will be there tonight cheering him on in his last home game” – Joyce
“The first game I went to was against the Eels and of course we sat on the Northern Hill and out of nowhere it pelted down. We discussed moving but figured we would have to sit back down on wet grass so we didn’t budge. We got soaked but our backsides were relatively dry. On Monday morning the radio announcer at the time was praising the two Cowboys fans who refused to move out of the pouring rain. Now that’s what he called dedication!” – Pat
“A group of us girls did a road trip to Townsville from Brizzy as we did most home games. This game was against the Roosters a few years ago. We were standing on the hill. Down comes the rain as everyone started moving to shelter we decided we are already wet and the game was tied up so we stayed and cheered on the boys. After a while the security guy came and gave us ponchos as we were the only ones still cheering from the hill. Roosters end up winning but we had a great night at that stadium” – Mary
HALL OF FAME
We’re proud to announce a new member to The81stMinute Hall of Fame in celebration of the Cowboys time at 1300Smiles Stadium.
RON MCLEAN – FOUNDING COWBOYS CHAIRMAN