RUGBY league legend and arguably Wagga’s greatest sporting export, Peter Sterling, has joined calls for a regular NRL match to be staged in the City of Good Sports.
Sterling yesterday declared Wagga “should be at the top of the list” for an annual premiership match after the NRL’s surprise announcement last week it would bring eight games a season to regional areas from 2018.
“Wagga should be at the top of the list, it’s that simple,” Sterling told The Advertiser.
“They’ve shown with City-Country and other NRL matches that they will support it.
“It’s only natural that Wagga would get one of those eight games.”
One of the greatest half-backs to play the game, Sterling lived at Forest Hill as a teenager, starting his playing career with Kangaroos and Kooringal High.
He said while the city had been a “phenomenal” rugby league nursery, the incursion of AFL into the Riverina was threatening the sport’s grassroots.
“There’s been this constant battle with AFL and we have to be wary,” Sterling said. “It’s time the NRL started to pay more attention to country areas like the Riverina. The grassroots of our game is its lifeblood and we can’t do enough to foster that.”
Sterling said the NRL should go even further than providing an annual game to Wagga.
“I strongly believe each NRL club should have a country area that’s their own,” he said. “They look after and have a relationship with that area, putting on regular clinics and games.”
The Parramatta great joins a chorus of support for Wagga’s NRL game bid, which has included Ray Warren, the Mortimer brothers, Brad Fittler, Trent Barrett and a host of local political leaders.
The Daily Advertiser has lobbied strongly for a game since May, when it launched the Our Sporting Chance campaign.
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