Member for the Dubbo electorate Dugald Saunders has announced an exciting partnership that will see the South Sydney Rabbitohs playing NRL competition matches at Dubbo’s Apex Oval for the next two seasons.
As chairman of the NSW Government’s Regional NRL taskforce, Mr Saunders has liaised with the club, the NRL and Dubbo Regional Council to ensure top-flight football returns to the city for the first time since the 2014 Country-City match.
“Dubbo deserves NRL games, and I thank the NRL, South Sydney and Dubbo Regional Council for working with the taskforce to make this happen,” he said.
“When I was made chairman of the taskforce I made a pledge that Dubbo would have an NRL game in 2021, and the great news is we’ve been able to lock the Bunnies in for two years. The Rabbitohs are also looking to create meaningful ties in the city through the ‘Souths Cares’ program, and I look forward to helping in those endeavours.
“This is the first domino to fall as part of the taskforce’s push to take more games to regional NSW, and I look forward to making further announcements in that regard.”
South Sydney CEO Blake Solly said his club is excited at strengthening ties with a region that has produced so many great players.
“We can’t wait to bring the team to Dubbo for the first of what we hope will be many games at Apex Oval, which has seen many of the game’s greats perform on its turf including Rabbitohs like Les Davidson, Terry Fahey, David Peachey and Joe Williams,” Mr Solly said.
“It’s also important for the sport to support those that support us, and the people in regional areas have shown they love their rugby league, hence why we’re happy to do our part to take some of our games to these regional centres. All NRL clubs have an obligation to ensure that rugby league outside of Sydney is strong.”
Dubbo Regional Council mayor Ben Shields said he is excited that the Rabbitohs have elected to bring matches to the city.
“There is a very passionate following for the Red and Green in Western NSW, and the team and its Sydney fans will be welcomed with open arms,” he said. “We look forward to hosting everyone in 2021 for the first of what will hopefully be many games.”
An announcement on a date for the match, and just who the Rabbitohs will be facing, will be made when the 2021 NRL draw is released in November.