Main content

Suns to open its season against North in Cairns

Suns and Roos will clash in round one - AFL,North Melbourne Kangaroos,West Coast Eagles
Suns and Roos will clash in round one

GOLD Coast will open its season against North Melbourne at Cazalys Stadium in Cairns.

The fixture – which will mark both the first time the Suns will be the home team at the venue and the Kangaroos' first game there – will be played under lights on Saturday March 24.

It will also be new Suns coach Stuart Dew's first game in charge after he was appointed to the top job earlier this month.

The AFL has forecast a crowd of more than 10,000, and will no doubt hope to surpass the venue record of 11,197 that watched Richmond narrowly beat Gold Coast in round 16, 2013.

It will be the eighth successive season that one-off premiership matches have been played in Cairns after the Tigers hosted games there against the Suns from 2011-13 before handing the baton to the Western Bulldogs from 2014-17.

The Suns' home ground, Metricon Stadium, will be unavailable until after the Commonwealth Games, which is scheduled to run from April 4-15.

The Suns will also host a premiership match in Townsville in 2019 or 2020.

"Australian Football is thriving in North Queensland, and we're pleased the passionate fans in the region will help us kick off the 2018 Toyota AFL Premiership Season," Travis Auld, the AFL's general manager of clubs and broadcasting, said in a statement.

"North Queensland has produced current AFL players in Charlie Dixon, Jarrod Harbrow, Zac Smith and Jack Bowes, and the AFL hopes that bringing matches to the region will continue to inspire both female and male players to reach the big time."

Gold Coast chief executive Mark Evans was "thrilled" that the Suns would kick off their campaign in the heart of their talent academy.

"A round one game in Cairns presents a wonderful opportunity to showcase the region ahead of what is always a much-anticipated opening round," Evans said.

"As a club we have established significant support in Cairns and throughout North Queensland. We are committed to playing our role in developing our game throughout the region."