The ACT government is set to add a stadium deal provision to allow the Canberra Raiders to shift one-off home games to country areas as both parties edge closer to finalising a long-term contract.
The bulk of the Raiders squad has returned to pre-season training with the memory of bumper Canberra crowds and grand final heartbreak still at the front of the players' minds.
But the Raiders are yet to lock in their Canberra Stadium future as officials negotiate with the government over what will likely be a five-year arrangement.
The deal could be finalised before Christmas and the Raiders have no intention of playing games elsewhere, but the opportunity to play interstate will likely be included in the new contract after the Green Machine was slapped with a $150,000 penalty this year.
The Raiders moved a home game from Canberra to Wagga as part of the NRL's mission to grow rugby league in regional areas.
The government, however, enforced a $150,000 penalty for the move after ruling it was a breach of the existing contract.
Sport Minister Yvette Berry said it was likely that clause would be changed to allow for one game to be shifted in a boost for regional rugby league areas.
The Raiders will play in Wagga again next season, but they may not shift a home match in 2021.
"We've said from the start with our negotiations with the Raiders we'll discuss [flexibility]. We couldn't go outside the existing agreement this year, but we'll continue to work with them," Berry said.
The Raiders hosted a preliminary final for the first time in the club's history last season, packing 26,576 people into the stands and generating an estimated $3.1 million for the ACT economy.
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The government spends $350,000 per year to rent Canberra Stadium, which is owned by federal-government body Sport Australia.
The Brumbies have requested a change to their stadium deal to move a game to Manuka Oval next season, but given both venues are government-owned assets it's unlikely they will incur a penalty.
But the move for a mooted heritage game could hinge on the costs of using Manuka, which costs more to use because of its lack of permanent infrastructure.
The Brumbies and Raiders are hopeful the government will make decision about building a new venue in Civic after almost 10 years of project speculation, but the uncertain future of the AIS campus has stalled progress.,
"We've had a couple of meetings now, we've got another meeting to go and then they'll put something back to us in writing," said Raiders boss Don Furner.
"We've got a two year deal with Wagga and then we'll examine it after that. We'll get that game out of the way and then examine."
The Brumbies and Raiders are also preparing to renegotiate their performance agreement with the government in the hope of increased investment similar to the GWS Giants' $23 million, 10-year deal.
CANBERRA'S 2020 NRL DRAW (home games in bold)
March 13: Canberra Raiders v Gold Coast Titans at Canberra Stadium, 6pm
March 21: New Zealand Warriors v Canberra Raiders at Eden Park, 3pm
March 26: Canberra Raiders v St George Illawarra Dragons at Canberra Stadium, 8.05pm
April 3: Canberra Raiders v Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles at Canberra Stadium, 8.05pm
April 12: Penrith Panthers v Canberra Raiders at Penrith, 4.05pm
April 18: Canberra Raiders v Newcastle Knights at Wagga, 3pm
April 26: Canberra Raiders v South Sydney Rabbitohs at Canberra Stadium, 2.05pm
May 2: Canterbury Bulldogs v Canberra Raiders at Brisbane, 5.30pm
May 9: Wests Tigers v Canberra Raiders at Tamworth, 5.30pm
May 17: Canberra Raiders v Penrith Panthers at Canberra Stadium, 2.05pm
May 23: Sydney Roosters v Canberra Raiders at Perth, 5.35pm
ROUND 12 - bye
June 6: Melbourne Storm v Canberra Raiders at Melbourne, 7.35pm
June 14: Canberra Raiders v New Zealand Warriors at Canberra Stadium, 2.05pm
June 28: Canberra Raiders v Sydney Roosters at Canberra Stadium, 4.05pm
July 5: Cronulla Sharks v Canberra Raiders at Kogarah, 4.05pm
July 11: Canberra Raiders v Brisbane Broncos at Canberra Stadium, 5.30pm
July 18: Canberra Raiders v Parramatta Eels at Canberra Stadium, 5.30pm
July 26: St George-Illawarra Dragons v Canberra Raiders at Wollongong, 2.05pm
August 1: North Queensland Cowboys v Canberra Raiders at North Queensland Stadium, 7.35pm
August 8: Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles v Canberra Raiders at Brookvale, 7.35pm
August 16: Canberra Raiders v Wests Tigers at Canberra Stadium, 4.05pm
August 22: South Sydney Rabbitohs v Canberra Raiders at Central Coast Stadium, 5.30pm
August 30: Gold Coast Titans v Canberra Raiders at Gold Coast, 2.05pm
September 5: Canberra Raiders v Melbourne Storm at Canberra Stadium, 7.35pm