FOOTBALL Wagga will use trial matches between Sydney FC and Newcastle at Equex Centre as a trial of their own to prove they can eventually host a season proper W-League or A-League clash.
As reported by The Daily Advertiser last month, a W-League clash is scheduled for Equex Centre this October, with an A-League match pencilled in for next year, after the deal was rubber stamped at Monday's Wagga City Council meeting.
Both matches are likely to be played against Newcastle Jets, with council and Football Wagga hopeful of establishing a longer term deal where men's and women's games would be alternated each year.
Sydney FC are the current holders of the A-League and W-League grand final trophies, and the fixture follows Wagga's first NRL game in over two decades between Canberra and Penrith at Equex Centre earlier this year.
"In some ways it's a bit of a walk before we try and canter," Football Wagga president Tony Dobbin said.
"It's a way of starting small in some ways, we can work out what to do and prove to ourselves and the community we can actually do it.
"We've always had a good relationship with Sydney FC, our (Wagga City) Wanderers in particular. They provide coaching and welcome our players and coaches into their organisation to experience it.
"Newcastle are coming as well and doing it for a similar regions, so we'll probably establish a relationship with them as well."
Wagga mayor Cr Greg Conkey said October's match will hopefully lay the foundation to follow in the NRL's footsteps and bring an official top level soccer game to the city.
"That would be great, it would be nice if we could get a competition W-League or A-League game," he said.
"It's early stages, but this is a good start towards that."
Conkey hopes more top level content at the ground will enhance their chances of receiving more government funding for more future improvements to the venue.
Wagga United women's first grade player Shandi Gibbons said the chance to see their heroes in the flesh will provide huge motivation for local juniors.
"It's an amazing experience for the young girls coming through the ranks to have this in their home town," she said.
"Building those networks is essential for the growth in our girls, getting to see firsthand what they can become.
"Living in a rural area, it's hard to get that exposure."
Under the plan, Sydney FC boss Danny Townsend told The Daily Advertiser they hope to alternate W-League and A-League pre-season games with Dubbo.
"There would be W-League (in Wagga) this year, A-League next year and we'll swap every year," Townsend said last month.
"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."