DOES anyone know a nice comfy vantage point on the Castlereagh Highway?
Well pull up a deck chair and crack open a cold one because that’s as close as Orange is going to get to any NRL action in 2013 after Mudgee secured the rights to host one of the Parramatta Eels premiership matches next season.
We can all wave as the Hayne Plane and Fui Fui cruise past.
Mudgee’s Glen Willow pulled off a massive coup when it was revealed yesterday the Mid-Western Regional Council secured one of the Eels’ home games for the 2013 season, bringing a regular season NRL match to the Central West for the first time since 1998.
But all Mudgee’s trump does is highlight the need for Orange to move away from the oval-shaped Wade Park as its premier sports facility and develop its own purpose-built complex capable of making waves of its own.
“Of course Orange should have a stadium,” Cr Kevin Duffy said following the announcement which has now seen Mudgee rise as professional sporting clubs’ preferred destination west of the Blue Mountains.
“We’re a regional city, not a town, and we should have regional facilities.
“We should be able to attract NRL, shield cricket and top flight rugby union to Orange.”
Mudgee last hosted top flight rugby league this year, when the CRL City-Country match was played at Glen Willow in front of 8621 people in April.
Duffy believes Orange would be able to do better than that.
A 15,000 seat stadium akin to the home of the Canberra Raiders, Bruce Stadium, is the dream.
Bring an NRL game to the region with that sort of facility and the people of Orange will flock to it in their droves.
Duffy said Orange City Council should be able to implement a 10-year plan to help Orange pursue ideas for and construct the kind of facility a city with the population of 40,000 people deserves.
“Wade Park is no longer user friendly,” he said.
“(Parramatta going to Mudgee is) backing the facility more than anything else.”
And the Eels won’t be the only one.
All NRL roads are leading to Mudgee at the moment.
It’s being reported Mudgee’s Glen Willow is the only genuine bush venue being considered by NRL clubs for a foray into the Country Rugby League, a venture which is being pushed by the Australian Rugby League independent commission.
“It’s only 10 years ago Parramatta and Cronulla used to play at Parkes,” Duffy said.
“It’s very narrow-minded. These blokes need to come across the mountains and have a look. But if we’re going to be able to do the same we need the facility.”