Penrith Panthers players Brent Kite, Peter Wallace and Dean Whare at a school event during the week. The success of tomorrow s NRL fixture at Bathurst will be keenly observed by Group 11 officials.THE game will be played outside his area but that won’t stop Group 11 president Ross McDermott from taking an active interest in the success of tomorrow’s NRL match between Penrith and Cronulla at Bathurst’s Carrington Park.
McDermott and fellow Group 11 officials Bob Walsh and Gavin Board have been in regular contact with the Manly club in recent times, endeavouring to bring one of the Sea Eagles’ competition games to Caltex Park next year.
And while tomorrow’s clash is a showcase for Bathurst, its success will have an impact on the willingness of other NRL clubs to bring games to bush areas.
“I’ve been in contact with the fellow from Bathurst City Council that has been co-ordinating the game and we’ve shared information on hosting these big events because it’s really in our best interests for Saturday’s game to go well,” McDermott said.
“If it goes off well and they get a good crowd, then it will hopefully entice other NRL clubs to look at playing matches in country areas.
“Mudgee hosted the Parramatta v Gold Coast game last year and we’ve obviously been in contact with Manly and had Country-City this year and the success of those events all feeds into it.
“I’ve had a look at the weather forecast and it doesn’t look kind for Friday but hopefully it clears up on Saturday for them and people flock to the ground to watch it.”
Negotiations between Group 11, Dubbo City Council and Manly have been quiet in recent times as the various parties wait for word on assistance from the NRL to make the event happen, but McDermott remains confident the Sea Eagles will be in Dubbo in 2015.
“The talks have all been positive so far, and there is a push for a game to come here early in the season if possible,” he said.
“Geoff Toovey would like it to be early in the NRL competition and if it’s something that works out to be financially worthwhile for Manly I don’t see why that can’t be the case.
“As we’ve seen with what Penrith have done in Bathurst this week, they could have a camp and some clinics with kids and we could tie it in with our junior league registrations so that everyone gets something out of it.
“We’ll know more over the next few weeks hopefully but it would be nice to see a good crowd at Bathurst on Saturday to make our case to Manly more appealing.”
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