Penrith and Parramatta are taking the Battle of the West to Bega for the sold-out EISS Super Sapphire Trial Tribute on Saturday in support of bushfire recovery efforts.
The historic event has been billed as a "festival of footy" and both squads will get out and about in NSW South Coast communities in the days before the clash with a range of activities.
Aside from helping to raise spirits and boosting the local economies, both teams will use the trial as a dress rehearsal for round one as a host of stars take to the paddock, including Clint Gutherson, Mitch Moses, Nathan Cleary and Josh Mansour.
All profits from Ticketek ticket sales and donations are going to The Salvation Army's Rural Assistance Appeal.
Eels v Panthers: EISS Super Sapphire Trial Tribute
Where: Bega Recreation Ground
When: Saturday, February 29
Gates open: 12pm
Curtain-raiser games: 12.05pm - Under 16s Andrew Johns Cup (Illawarra South Coast v Monaro Colts). 1.40pm - Under 18s Laurie Daley Cup (Illawarra South Coast v Monaro Colts).
Ticket access: If you are a ticket holder please ensure you take either of the below two steps before getting to the venue as there will be minimal internet services available.
Option 1: Download your mobile ticket to your phone prior to the game – you will need to make sure all barcodes are accessible without requiring an internet connection.
Option 2: Print your ezytickets prior to the game – a hard copy print-off of each ezyticket will ensure that internet access isn’t required.
Fans who didn't get a ticket can still enjoy the atmosphere and entertainment at a live site on George Griffin Memorial Oval - next to the Bega Recreation Ground - which will be activated at 12pm on Saturday.
The live zone will feature a big screen to show the trial action as well as various food stalls, bars and a Kids Zone including the EISS Super Inflatable, Telstra Premiership trophy, League Stars skills set-ups, PCYC bubble soccer, a CCC jumping castle, face painting and Oops the Clown.
Food trucks include: Bianchini Gelati, Faraway Farm, Jodestars, Kalaru Kitchen, Kebab Queen, Merimbula Dutch Pancakes, More than Beans Coffee, Valley Katering, Salvation Army BBQ, Bega Roosters BBQ, Phoenician Street Food, Ragino Coffee, Slinky Spudz, Tulgeen stall.
ARIA award-winning artist Amy Shark will headline a free post-match concert at the live site at George Griffin Memorial Oval from 6pm.
The "Adore" hitmaker will be joined by rising country music star Brad Cox and local acts Sam Stevenson and Matt Glass & The Loose Cannons.
Set times are below:
6.00pm - Sam Stevenson
6.30pm - Matt Glass & The Loose Cannons
7.00pm - Brad Box (30 minutes)
8.00pm - Amy Shark (30 minutes)
On Friday afternoon, the Fox League "Footy For Fires" OzTag match will be played, with NRL legends and Fox Sports talent to join in.
NRL players visit bushfire affected region
TV: Live on Fox League, the Nine Network (NSW and QLD: Channel Nine; Victoria, SA and WA: GEM) and Sky Sport 4 (NZ) from 3:30pm AEDT.
Streaming: Live on Kayo Sports, Nine Now, Watch NRL and the NRL app with Telstra Live Pass.
Radio: Live on 2GB, ABC Grandstand Sydney, NRL Nation/SEN 3 app (NSW); 4BC, ABC Grandstand Brisbane, NRL Nation/SEN 3 app (QLD); ABC Listen app, SEN 3 app (Victoria, SA, WA). Others: 2GB.com.au, 4BC.com.au, ABC Radio ACT, ABC Grandstand Canberra.
Tamou's personal tale amid bushfire tragedy
The Panthers team will meet and mingle with locals on Wednesday evening while enjoying dinner at the Merimbula Hotel from 6.45pm.
Both squads will be busy from Thursday onwards with their schedules including:
- School visits in Tathra, Narooma, Moruya, Bodalla, Quaama, Eden, Pambula, Merimbula, Wolumla, Bega Valley and Candelo;
- State of Mind activations in Moruya, Eden, Pambula and Narooma;
- Eels and Panthers players meeting with volunteers and emergency responders in Cobargo, Bemboka, Eden and Narooma;
- Open training sessions and player meet and greets at Bega Recreational Ground on Friday morning