The Canberra Raiders will take one of their 2021 NRL home games to Wagga Wagga next year, after COVID-19 impacted the League playing in regional NSW during the 2020 season.
As part of the EISS Super Regional Series, six clubs will play one of each of their home matches in a regional NSW town.
Australian Rugby League Commission chairman Peter V’landys AM said the NRL was holding true on a promise made to the regions.
“I made a promise to regional NSW that we would take games back to the bush as soon as the competition returned to normality. The infection rate is now zero so we will deliver on that promise and schedule NRL games in six different towns,’’ he said.
“Nowhere is rugby league stronger than in our regions. This year, COVID meant we were only able to take one game to regional NSW, so we will make good on that with six games next year.”
Along with Wagga Wagga, Bathurst, Tamworth, Dubbo, Mudgee and Coffs Harbour will each host a first-grade match.
The NRL clubs which will play in these locations are Penrith Panthers, West Tigers, South Sydney Rabbitohs, Manly Warringah Sea Eagles and Cronulla Sutherland Sharks.
NSW Deputy Premier John Barilaro said after an unfortunate run with drought, bushfires and COVID-19, the NRL games couldn’t have come at a better time.
“There’s nothing quite like a game of footy to boost morale and nobody deserves it more than our resilient communities in the regions,” Mr Barilaro said.
“Many professional NRL players come from regional towns and I’m sure they, and the entire state of NSW, thank the NRL for making this a reality.
“Sydney might be the home of NRL, but the regions are where it was born.”
The dates involved in the regional series fixture will be confirmed with the full season schedule to be announced tomorrow, Thursday 26 November.