TOP flight rugby league will return to Dubbo in 2014 with the Country Rugby League announcing the city as the host of the 2014 City-Country fixture.
A date is yet to be confirmed for the Apex Oval fixture, however CRL chairman Jock Colley met with NRL officials on Friday to rubber stamp the decision.
In a way it has been one of the sport’s worst kept secrets, with Dubbo always a short-priced favourite after a poor crowd of little more than 4000 attended this year’s match in Coffs Harbour.
When Apex Oval lasted hosted the fixture back in 2006, a crowd of 11,342 packed the complex to watch local lad Andrew Ryan lead Country to a 12-10 win.
Colley said the facilities available in Dubbo made it the obvious choice for the 2014 match.
“Apex Oval is a great ground and Dubbo also has the benefit of having a vast array of motels and hotels for people to stay at,” Colley said.
“The RSL Club and Dubbo City Council have also jumped on board to assist Group 11 with the bid.
“We’re really keen to see a big crowd at the game next year and the RSL has a database of more than 23,000 people it can contact and help us promote the game, and you can see with the work that has gone on at the Apex Oval playing surface that council is committed to bringing these major events to the city.
“We’ve spoken to the NRL as well and told them we want the best possible players made available for this game to make it the spectacle it deserves to be.”
Group 11 secretary Bob Walsh says the CRL’s decision is a win for not only Dubbo, but the entire region.
He added that as was the case in 2006 and again at an NRL trial between Canterbury and Canberra in 2010, all eight clubs within Group 11 will get a chance to benefit from the fixture.
“On other occasions with this game and with NRL games in the bush it has all been about one town but we want to support every club in our competition,” he said.
“This game, while it is being held at Dubbo, will benefit Wellington, Forbes, Parkes, Nyngan, Narromine and Cobar as well.