The NRL has confirmed the NSW regional locations which are to host NRL Telstra Premiership fixtures with support from the NSW Government in 2019.
The NRL has announced that, as part of the package:
• Penrith Panthers will play in Bathurst in Round 3 (Saturday, March 30);
• Canberra Raiders are to host a game in Wagga Wagga in Round 8 (Saturday, May 4);
• St George Illawarra are to host a match in Mudgee in Round 10 (Sunday, May 19).
The NSW State Government, through its tourism and major events agency Destination NSW, has pledged support to the regional event package, with a focus on marketing and driving tourism to the regional centres.
NSW Minister for Tourism and Major Events Adam Marshall joined Member for Dubbo Troy Grant, Mid-Western Regional Council Mayor Des Kennedy and St George Illawarra Dragons Ambassador Matt Cooper in Mudgee today to formalise the announcement.
The match-ups will be confirmed as part of the NRL Telstra Premiership draw announcement, which will be held later this month.
NRL CEO Todd Greenberg said the NRL was proud to once again make scheduling matches in regional areas a priority.
He said St George Illawarra would also once again play the annual Charity Shield match against South Sydney Rabbitohs in Mudgee on Saturday, March 2.
Mr Greenberg added more regional fixtures would also be confirmed when the NRL Telstra Premiership draw is announced.
"Our commitment to playing matches in regional locations will continue in the 2019 schedule," Mr Greenberg said.
"But more than that, importantly we will have the backing of the NSW Government and Destination NSW.
"We saw some amazing scenes in some of our regional matches in 2018 and I see no reason why we won't see many more highlights in 2019."
Mr Marshall said the benefits to regional areas would be significant.
"Regional NSW has the facilities required to host major sporting events and I am delighted the NSW Government has partnered with the NRL to showcase the best of the NRL in regional NSW," Mr Marshall said.