Why the Cowboys are riding high

How one high-performance training centre creates long-term community value

  • Projects


When is a sports facility more than just another sports facility? When it creates jobs, is a catalyst for new partnerships and builds enduring community value. That’s what the North Queensland Cowboys’ new $40 million high-performance training centre delivers.

Completed in 2021, the Cowboys Centre of Excellence in Townsville offers state-of-the-art indoor training facilities, sports medicine laboratories and training fields next to Queensland Country Bank Stadium.

Designed by Populous and delivered by Hutchinson Builders, the centre features an indoor multi-use synthetic turf training field that is convertible to a hard-court sports floor. A basketball court and gym overlook the main training field. Recovery sessions are supported with three swimming pools, a heat and altitude chamber, sleep room, medical sports consulting and sports rehabilitation services. It is truly a best-of-breed training ground.

At a glance

  • Client
    Cowboys Rugby League Football Limited
  • Services
  • sector
  • Location
    Townsville, Australia

Elite sport calls on elite cost professionals

RLB was engaged by the client, Cowboys Rugby League Football Limited, when the facility was nothing more than a dream and a desire for excellence. RLB’s skilled cost estimation team was called in to compare the Cowboys’ wish list against other global centres of excellence and to investigate design options. We drew on the expertise of our sports specialists, a global database of best practice benchmarks and our long history working on some of Australia’s best sporting facilities.

RLB’s team was proud to play our part – from managing the budget to ensuring best value for money – to deliver a training facility that is as high-performing as the North Queensland Cowboys.
Chris Marais, Director, RLB

With the backing of a robust cost plan, the club secured $5 million in funding from the Queensland Government, $15 million from the federal government, and a $20 million loan from the Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility. RLB also helped the Cowboys to analyse designs from two architects to achieve the best value for money from the available funding.

Top of the ladder training facility

Elite training facilities ensure athletes are in peak condition and provide clubs with a competitive edge. The best facilities also act as a powerful recruitment and retention tool for players and coaching staff.

As Queensland looks towards the 2032 Brisbane Olympics, Townsville now has a world-class training facility that can support pre-Olympic preparation.

  • $
  • 17,000
    site adjacent to North Queensland Stadium
  • 213
    created during construction

The pride of the north

High-performance facilities do more than benefit high-performance athletes. The Cowboys Centre of Excellence created around 213 jobs during construction and more than $71 million of work was generated for local Townsville businesses. The facility also underpins a long-term collaboration between the club and James Cook University to build a high-performance sports science hub in Townsville. RLB’s enduring relationship with James Cook University gave us extra insights into the university’s vision.

Peak performance on and off the field

Professional rugby league players train twice a day, six days a week, with gruelling regimes that cover everything from strength and conditioning to skill development, tactical preparation to match simulation. With a leading-edge off-field training facility – delivered by a skilled and dedicated team of professionals – the Cowboys can now put in their best 80-minute performance on the field.