RUGBY LEAGUE - MUDGEE will host the only National Rugby League game outside a major city in 2013 when the Parramatta Eels play Gold Coast Titans on Sunday, May 26.
It was confirmed in October the Ricky Stuart-coached Eels would be bringing a home game to Mudgee next year and on Friday the date and opposition were announced.
The NRL released its draw for the first 20 rounds and the Eels versus Titans match is scheduled for round 11 at Glen Willow Regional Sports Stadium.
This is two rounds before the first State of Origin game, meaning both Parramatta and Gold Coast are likely to bring their superstars as a final hit-out to join the Origin squad.
The day promises to be not only a memorable one for NRL fans but also Group 10 Rugby League.
Although Group 10s draw is not finalised for 2013, everything is being done to secure a blockbuster Mudgee Dragons home game for May 26, acting as a curtain-raiser to the NRL game.
Group secretary Peter McDonald described the chance to showcase Group 10 Rugby League to thousands of spectators and potentially a national audience as "once in a lifetime".
He said who Mudgee would play on May 26 is yet to be decided because the Group was waiting on Blackheath to have their AGM yesterday.
"Blackheath will confirm to us how many teams they are playing in 2013 and then the draw will be finalised," McDonald said.
Mudgee Dragons president Roger Lang said it would be great to have a game against Orange CYMS or Lithgow Workies but the overall day would be a success.
"I'm pretty sure both NRL sides would want to come and do some clinics and training sessions in the week prior to the game much like it was for Country-City," Lang said.
"Hopefully we can get them [Eels] back to play in the country once a year and hopefully they choose Mudgee again."
Mid-Western Regional Council general manager Warwick Bennett, a Canberra Raiders fan, said it did not matter whether you follow the Eels or Titans or someone else, the day promised to be a success.
"This is a national competition bringing its game to the country areas of Australia and the region will be proud to deliver an outstanding performance that will hopefully encourage the Eels or other sides to come back for many years to come," he said.
Council's events co-ordinator, Alayna Shackleton said although tickets for the game were not yet on sale fans could secure their ticket by purchasing an Eels' "Mudgee membership".
"If you go to the Eels' website they have a special Mudgee membership where for $70 ($50 for children) you can secure a ticket to the Mudgee game and entry to two games at ANZ Stadium in Sydney," she said.
Other NRL games travelling abroad this season include the Rabbitohs versus Warriors in Perth, the Titans versus Panthers in Darwin and the Bulldogs v Knights in Mackay (all in Round 17 from July 5-8).
The 2013 NRL season begins on Thursday, March 7, with a match between the Roosters and the Rabbitohs.