NRL announces regional 2018 matches
The NRL will schedule matches across seven different regional locations in NSW and Queensland as part of the 2018 NRL Telstra Premiership season.
Premiership matches will be held in Mudgee, Tamworth, Bathurst and Gosford next year, as well as Gladstone, Toowoomba and Cairns.
It means the 2018 season will include the most number of regional locations in NSW and Queensland in the history of the NRL Premiership.
The Gold Coast Titans will take two matches to regional centres (Gladstone and Toowoomba), while South Sydney will continue play one of its matches in Cairns.
The St George Illawarra Dragons will host a match in Mudgee – which will also be the venue for the annual pre-season Charity Shield match against the South Sydney Rabbitohs.
Wests Tigers will host a match in Tamworth, Penrith Panthers will play in Bathurst, while both the Sydney Roosters and South Sydney will take matches to Gosford.
NRL CEO Todd Greenberg said the NRL had worked with the clubs and Country Rugby League in order to maximise the number of matches in regional areas in 2018.
"We have said for some time it was our strong desire to take more games to regional venues in 2018, and we're extremely happy to have been able to do that as part of the new schedule," Mr Greenberg said.
"I want to thank the clubs involved for working with us on delivering this positive result for the game in regional areas but also the local councils, community groups and our government partners for being so enthusiastic about hosting rugby league matches.
"It will be great to see so many people in regional areas being able to witness the best of rugby league up close in 2018."
CRL CEO Terry Quinn said the additional matches were a victory for country rugby league fans.
"We always said that, if the Country v City match was to be discontinued, we needed to see more NRL games in regional areas," he said.
"We have secured those extra matches and it means fans will be able to see NRL games in more regional areas than ever before."
Details of each of the fixtures will be released when the full 2018 NRL Telstra Premiership schedule is announced.