Cowboys’ special request to save 2020 finals push
THE Cowboys have applied to the NRL for scheduling dispensation amid fears playing day games when the season resumes could derail North Queensland's premiership campaign.
Cowboys football-operations chief Peter Parr has contacted NRL hierarchy requesting the club be excluded from 3 or 4pm kick-offs when the governing body finalises a revised competition draw for the code's May 28 restart.
With the New Zealand Warriors having set up base in country NSW, the Cowboys - who are 2070km from Sydney - now face the most gruelling travel schedule in the NRL amid the COVID-19 saga.
Under the NRL's Project Apollo plan, teams will use private charter flights for travel to venues on game day, as occurred in Round 2 when the Cowboys flew to Sydney to face the Bulldogs at ANZ Stadium.
Parr said it would be almost impossible for the Cowboys to be adequately prepared for game-day flights for an afternoon kick-off.
The Cowboys also expressed concerns for rival NRL teams who would have to travel to Townsville if a 3pm kick-off was scheduled.
"We have put a request through to the NRL to avoid day games because of how early we would have to depart Townsville if that was the case," Parr said.
"I've emailed the NRL asking for them to consider us avoiding day games if possible.
"With the Warriors now in Australia, we will have to travel more than any other team, which we are used to, but we would like some consideration given to avoiding 3pm games because that would require a very early start.
"We feel a 3pm game would compromise our preparation, we also have to take into account that Sydney clubs will have to travel to Townsville as well."
The Cowboys had success with their hit-and-run mission to Homebush in March, defeating the Bulldogs 24-16, but the late kick-off gave North Queensland sufficient time to depart on game day.
"We played the Bulldogs at 8pm in Sydney on round two and we had to leave at 11.30. That's seven-and-a-half hours before the game," Parr said.
"If we played a 3pm game, our guys we have to be up at 5 o'clock to play an NRL game which is not ideal from an athletic and preparation standpoint.
"We could probably handle 5.30pm kick-offs, that way we might get home a bit earlier.
"We accept our situation generally because we live in North Queensland and we accept our geographical position, but if the NRL is going to continue with game-day travel, we need some consideration for our circumstances."