ORANGE will have to fight it out with Dubbo, Bathurst and Mudgee to host a round of the 2015 National Rugby Championship (NRC).
Orange and Dubbo played host to NSW Country Eagles home games during the 2014 NRC season and are in line to attract a match this year.
However this time they have more competition.
Eagles general manager James Grant said the club was considering locations for its four home games of the season now.
“We’re working out where our venues will be. Central West is a hot place for us,” Grant explained.
“We had good experiences at Orange and Dubbo last year.
“Bathurst is a really strong place and Mudgee is high on our radar.”
Grant said there is probably one thing that will help decide which Central West venue will host an NRC match.
“Each venue has a uniqueness in what they offer. They’re all perfect for NRC,” he said.
“The enthusiasm from the local community will be a major factor [in the decision].”
The general manager said the Eagles were impressed with their visits to Orange and Dubbo in 2014 and the club is expected to make its decision on the home game locations in the first week of May.
West Wyalong is being considered to host an Eagles home game as is Port Macquarie.
Darren Coleman will return as the Eagles head coach after leading them to the 2014 semi-finals, where they were beaten by eventual champions Brisbane City 32-26.
The law variations will be used again in 2015, including penalty goals being worth two points and conversions worth three.
“The competition is a really high standard,” Grant explained.
“Players say it’s faster than Super Rugby due to the rules, so the ball is in play more.”
Grant said the competition’s second planning meeting was held with the Australian Rugby Union (ARU) on Tuesday.
The Eagles’ next focus is attracting more sponsors and then locking in venues.
Once these things are locked in, the Eagles will start the player recruitment.