Canberra Raiders look to bring NRL to Wagga

GREEN MACHINE: Canberra Raiders captain Jarrod Croker could lead his team onto Equex Centre for an NRL game in 2019 with at least one game in the pipeline.
GREEN MACHINE: Canberra Raiders captain Jarrod Croker could lead his team onto Equex Centre for an NRL game in 2019 with at least one game in the pipeline.

Wagga is set to host a NRL game in 2019.

Canberra Raiders are looking to bring a competition game to the city.

Raiders chief executive Don Furner confirmed discussions are well under way to play at Equex Centre.

While initial hopes were for a game in 2018, with the NRL draw already released the focus has shifted to the following year.

Furner believes Wagga is the ideal location for the Raiders to support rugby league in the country following a push by the NRL after the scrapping of the annual City-Country fixture.

"We think Wagga will be the best city to do it in," Furner said.

"It is the biggest city in the area, the hub for the Riverina.

"We consider Canberra the hub for the region around here with the NSW towns of Goulburn, Cooma, Queanbeyan and Yass and Wagga is the hub for Young, Junee and all those regional towns.

"It just makes sense and it is a great sporting city with a great rugby league history there."

The Raiders played Penrith in Bathurst this year and will travel to tackle Mudgee in 2018 to play St George Illawarra.

However this time around they would be the home club.

Furner is looking for a two or three year commitment, which would be a landmark deal for the region.

Greater Western Sydney and ACT Brumbies had similiar arrangements, but never offered hosting rights to premiership games.

Canberra last played a trial in the city against the Bulldogs in 2012.

Furner is confident the ground is well equipped to handle hosting a NRL game.

"A competition game is different and there are greater KPIs (key performance indicators) in regards to lighting, broadcast and brings with it a few more demands on the facility itself ," he said.

"But we think Wagga can handle it."

While stressing Wagga City Council have been doing all the work to try and secure the deal, Wagga Rugby League chairman Warren Barclay believes it will be a big boost for the city.

"We fully support it and are looking forward to it," Barclay said.

"It would justify the hard work that has been put in by the volunteers to actually build the ground.

"It would be an outstanding success if we got it."