Wagga City Council has partnered with the Canberra Raiders to bring NRL games to the city in 2019 and 2020.
Councillors resolved in a confidential section of Monday night’s council meeting to host an NRL premiership game in 2019 and 2020, with the option for a third year.
Each game was forecast to inject $2 million into Wagga’s economy, add to the 1.3 million people who visit the region every vear and boost rugby league participation at a grass-roots level.
Wagga mayor Greg Conkey told The Daily Advertiser that the deal would be great for the city’s economy.
“We’d expect 10,000 people to visit, taking a conservative approach to it,” he said.
“We believe our costs would be lower than in metropolitan areas, so we’re encouraging families to attend.”
“They’re great sports and we expect the games to be popular with people throughout southern NSW, from Canberra right through to the border.”
The new premiership games partnership with the Canberra Raiders has been years in the making.
Wagga has hosted many high level sporting matches in recent years, including the sell-out Country versus City Origin match in 2015, which attracted 9127 fans to Equex Centre.
Canberra Raiders chief executive Don Furner said the club was looking forward to rewarding their many Riverina supporters with an NRL game in their backyard.
“The Raiders are excited about taking a premiership fixture to Wagga for the next two seasons as we have always felt we are the club that represents NSW Country in the NRL,” he said.
“The Riverina is a great rugby league region and we proud to be able to take an NRL competition match there next season.
“We have an extraordinary number of members and fans that attend games in Canberra from the Riverina, so to commit one premiership game to Wagga in each of the next two seasons is a small club gesture to show our appreciation of their support.”
Mr Furner said the club will be encouraging all of its Canberra-based members to travel out to Wagga to support the Raiders and make a weekend of the trip.
Further details of the 2019 game will be available when the NRL draw is finalised later in the year, with eleven home games to remain in Canberra.
The Daily Advertiser understands that Wagga council is seeking even further ties between the Riverina and the Canberra Raiders.
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