Cowboys chief visits region
RUGBY LEAGUE: North Queensland Cowboys acting chief executive Jeff Reibel has made his first visit to the Whitsundays region since taking on the top job.
Reibel assumed the position following the resignation of Greg Tonner in September, stepping up from the role of chief commercial officer.
He was joined on the tour by former player and acting chief operating officer Micheal Luck along with head of commercial partnerships Ross Aldridge.
"We've had some recent changes to the structure, so this visit has been about getting to the major towns and meeting with key stakeholders,” Reibel said.
"We've been in Bowen, visiting the Whitsundays where we've met with Mayor Andrew Willcox and Robert Filby from Filby's Motors, and then heading to Mackay.”
Reibel is no stranger to the region, having grown up in Bowen and has enjoyed a lengthy career in sports administration.
He spent seven years as sales and marketing manager at the Cowboys before moving to the Gold Coast Titans.
Reibel made the transition to the Supercars scene as general manager - commercial for Erebus Motorsport before returning to the Cowboys in 2015.
"It's been rewarding (the CEO role),” he said.
"Our club is fortunate with the quality of people that work within it, you would go a long way to find better specialists.
"Working with the chairman, our director of footy on a daily basis has made it a smooth transition for me.”
Reibel's ascension to the top job comes in a time of transition for North Queensland following the retirement of Johnathan Thurston and move to a new ground in the heart of Townsville in time for the 2020 season.
"There's no doubt that this next short period of time is probably the most pivotal to the club's future since 1995,” he said.
"We say goodbye to our current stadium and move the new stadium which will be a great platform for our future.
"We're also building a footy team without Thurston for the first time since 2005.
"Peter Parr and Paul Green have done a fantastic job, there's guys who have gone through our development program such as Michael Morgan and Jake Clifford.
"Then you throw in the signings such as Ben Barba, which is massive, Nene Macdonald, a Cairns boy, and Josh McGuire, then consider the likes of Matt Scott and Gavin Cooper still playing, we've got the nucl- eus of a good squad in 2019.”
Reibel said the partnership with the Mackay Cutters as a feeder club for the Cowboys was important, especially as a springboard for Whitsunday-based rugby league talents.
"I believe in conjunction with our feeder teams in Mackay, Townsville and Cairns we have a real opportunity to identify and keep our talent in North Queensland,” he said.
"The role the Cutters play for us is important, not just in our first graders going back to play for the Cutters, but the development role the club plays in Under-16, Under-18, Under-20 and Queensland Cup. It is an important pathway.”