Cowboys more than just a one-town club

·2-min read

Friday's clash against Parramatta is historic for North Queensland as they host a club-first NRL preliminary final and first ever finals match at Queensland Country Bank Stadium.

The Townsville faithful snapped up tickets in two minutes at the 25,000-capacity stadium with cars, homes and businesses donned with Cowboys colours this week in support of their club.

Local fans are manic, die-hard, hostile to opposing teams but have unwavering dedication to their one-town team.

Befittingly, the Cowboys are community owned by the leagues club. Those who can't witness the game live do so in the CBD with players joining for post-match meet and greets.

But it's not just the Townsville population these Cowboys represent. Their reach spans as far west as Mount Isa, as low as Bundaberg and as high to the tip of the state.

Coach Todd Payten has an adoration for the community which has stood by them through the tough times - more recently four straight bottom four finishes - and understands just how important they are to the region.

"We're all very aware of how important we are for the community and we understand how visible we are," Payten said on Thursday.

"The well-being and the economy can ebb-and-flow on our results.

"We experienced some tough times last year and they were right behind us so long as we put in the effort.

"Now that we've started getting some results along with that effort, it's been a good place to live."

Travelling around Townsville the winter cool has passed and the heat has returned, but amongst the dry grass and humidity is a city shining in navy and yellow.

Many of Payten's side are local products with Townsville, Mackay, Bundaberg and Cairns all represented in their run-on side.

When they enter the arena on Friday, Payten knows they do so for more than just the club.

"It's just a reminder of how important it is to other people outside of our building," Payten added.

"We're so visible and our players are pretty present in the community. It's important for us to make sure that we play well not just for our friends and family but everyone we represent whether it's up in the Cape, out in Mount Isa, down to Bundaberg.

"We've got a big footprint and playing for our club means something to a lot of our kids because they've come through our pathway system and they're from those areas."