SYDNEY FC is confident of brokering a long term deal with Football Wagga (FWW) and Wagga City Council which would ensure a W-League or A-League pre-season game is played in the city every year.
FWW and council representatives met with Sydney FC officials, including CEO Danny Townsend, in Sydney last week to discuss the arrangement, with games to be played at Equex Centre against the Newcastle Jets.
Under the agreement, a W-League or A-League trial game will be staged in Wagga on alternate years to Dubbo. Sydney FC is the defending champion of both competitions.
It is near certain to start with a W-League trial, which means an A-League match will be pencilled in for next year under the rolling agreement.
Townsend told the Jets the club would agree to play them in Dubbo if they committed to matches in Wagga.
"There would be W-League (in Wagga) this year, A-League next year and we'll swap every year," Townsend said.
"Both cities (Wagga and Dubbo) would get a professional football game every year.
"If you're going to do these things you may as well do it properly. There's no use us making a splash in Wagga, then never going back there.
"We're just in the final stages of getting council support for it, they've indicated they want to do it but need to look at the costs involved.
"I'd say we're probably a week or so away from getting an iron clad tick of approval.
"We're comfortable for all the proceeds to go to local football, and we've agreed to that."
Townsend said the club is keen to develop stronger partnerships with NSW regional areas.
"The value of it is building up a familiarity and association with the area and the people, hopefully over time we become more a part of the Wagga and Riverina area," he said.
"There's a lot of talent coming out of that part of NSW and as a leading club, we want to make sure we tap into the best talent and have an association with Football Wagga.
"If there's players that are shining with talent that are capable of playing at a professional level, they (Football Wagga) can let us know and we'll have a look at them and maybe give them an opportunity to join our academy."
Townsend wouldn't rule out Wagga eventually getting a chance to host a fully-fledged W-League fixture.
"It wouldn't be impossible to do," he said.
"An A-League season proper game would be challenging giving our legal commitments to stadiums and the like, but there's more flexibility around the W-League.
"The challenges would lay in the transport side, it's probably have to be a Melbourne club because it's a long journey for even Newcastle to get out there (when the season's up and running)."
The NRL held its second match in Wagga, and the first for 21 years, when Canberra defeated Penrith early last month.
The AFL last held a pre-season game in the Riverina in 2017 when the Greater Western Sydney Giants played West Coast Eagles.