COUNTRY Rugby League chief Terry Quinn has come out in support of a proposed rectangular multi-purpose sporting precinct for the Orange, saying it’s becoming increasingly difficult to stage top-flight rugby league games at oval grounds.
Wade Park has long been the home of sport in Orange and since 2006 has hosted two A-League pre-season trials, a NRL trial match, City-Country and a Fiji versus NSW Waratahs rugby union game.
But any future hosting rights - particularly those involving rugby league - could now be up in the air.
And it is all to do with Wade Park’s shape.
Quinn believes, to a degree, Orange has been left behind by the likes of Dubbo’s Apex Oval and Bathurst’s Carrington Park, while Mudgee’s brand new facility Glen Willow Complex has usurped the stadiums at all three of its bigger country cousins.
Quinn has backed a proposal from both Orange CYMS and Orange Hawks rugby league clubs to build a multi-million dollar sports precinct in Orange.
He said taking big ticket games to oval-shaped grounds has become more and more impractical.
“It is. Mind you, in the past Orange has successfully hosted games the standard of City-Country,” Quinn said.
“But the facilities at Dubbo and Mudgee are very, very good and certainly that’s the level you need to be at. You’re just that much closer to the action and certainly their facilities for television and radio broadcasting are better.”
Orange isn’t alone in its need to move from a tired oval ground to a multi-purpose rectangular sports precinct either.
In Group Nine territory Albury’s major sports ground is oval-shaped.
As is Griffith’s biggest sports facility in Group 20.
Both town’s rugby league clubs, however, play out of smaller rectangular-sized grounds.
Quinn said more and more country cities were leaning towards specifically-built rectangular shaped sports facilities.
“The prime example is Mudgee. They’ve not only attracted the City-Country but rugby sevens tournaments, touch football internationals,” Quinn said.
Councillor Jason Hamling said Wade Park’s current use as a shared rugby league and cricket venue was no longer viable.
“There has never been a major issue, everyone involved has always been understanding (when seasons overlap) and I’ve probably got to give both summer users and winter uses of the ground a rap,” Hamling said.
“But with a separate ground we no longer have to worry.”
Quinn was hopeful the CRL would be considered in any move towards a rectangular precinct.