Dubbo deserves to be hosting NRL games: Troy Grant

Right to host: Dubbo hosted City-Country Origin in 2014 and Troy Grant believes more NRL games should be brought to the city. Photo: BELINDA SOOLE
Right to host: Dubbo hosted City-Country Origin in 2014 and Troy Grant believes more NRL games should be brought to the city. Photo: BELINDA SOOLE

Dubbo and Mudgee should be hosting more NRL games and other major sporting events and shouldn’t need ratepayers to pay to make it happen, Troy Grant said.

Mr Grant hit out at the NRL and clubs over a reluctance to bring games to regional areas unless there was a significant fee from local councils attached.

Bathurst hosted a match between the Penrith Panthers and Canberra Raiders on Saturday, part of a deal between the Panthers and Bathurst Regional Council that has been going since 2014 and will continue until 2028.

Mr Grant said Dubbo had proved itself more than capable of hosting matches when it attracted 9300 people to City-Country in 2014 in less-than-ideal conditions.

The city has been trying to attract an NRL match since then, but because of a reluctance to pay clubs, has been overlooked.

“It’s good to see the NRL come out to regional areas but I do point out that Bathurst council paid significant money over the last few years to bring the Panthers to their city, and the crowd of 9000 or slightly under that was less than we got for a Country-City on a miserably cold, wet, freezing day a couple of years ago,” he said.

“Whilst its good to see them, I think we need a better deal with the sporting teams coming to regions where our ratepayers aren’t paying through the pockets for the privilege of having them here.

Mr Grant said Dubbo had one of the best rectangular sporting grounds in the state, along with Glen Willow in Mudgee, and he wants both to be further utilised for big events.

“I think each of the sports have a responsibility to regional NSW to bring the sports to our facilities,” he said.

Mr Grant said he wants to see Dubbo’s sporting facilities further improved in the coming years and he is hoping to gain funding for a new indoor stadium.

“[An indoor stadium] is a focus for me over the next two years that we find a way to do that and complement the Barden Park investment as well as Caltex,” he said.