Member for Dubbo Dugald Saunders has been named as chair of the NSW Government's NRL Regional Taskforce.
The taskforce has been formed to develop a plan to bring more games to regional NSW.
Deputy Premier John Barilaro made the announcement during a visit to Dubbo on Wednesday.
Saunders said it was his 'top priority' to see Dubbo host an NRL premiership fame in 2021.
"The focus will be on 2021, and I will now be working to put the taskforce team together, and work on the other locations in regional NSW that could host games next year," Saunders said.
The news comes as a boost to Dubbo's chance of hosting an NRL match after mayor Ben Shields announced in May he was looking to have a game played at Apex Oval in the next three years.
The idea for the city to host a match in 2021 was given unanimous support from councillors at the May council meeting.
Bathurst, Tamworth and Wagga all already have agreements in place with NRL clubs, but Saunders said he could see "six to eight" games in total per season being played in the bush.
Saunders said he has met with Australian Rugby League chairman Peter V'Landys.
"I have met several times with Australian Rugby League chairman Peter V'Landys to discuss bringing a game to Dubbo and the regional approach that needs to be taken, especially in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic where so many communities have been starved of football," Saunders said.
"The Deputy Premier worked very closely with the NRL to ensure the return of the competition and we were hoping to see a couple of regional games this year, but with the current health orders it will be extremely difficult to achieve that."
Deputy Premier John Barilaro said Mr Saunders' passion for regional NSW made him the ideal choice to lead the taskforce.
"Dugald has certainly been on the front foot around bringing an NRL game to Dubbo, and we realise that it will benefit not only the city itself but the wider western NSW region," Barilaro said.
"He also realises there is a need to take the game to people all across the state, so I look forward to working with him and the taskforce to develop a plan that means we can play competition games in grass roots areas in 2021."
Dubbo mayor Ben Shields welcomed the announcement, saying in a post on his Facebook page "The state's offer of financial assistance is certainly well appreciated."
When asked about the financial assistance from the Daily Liberal the mayor said he would be very surprised if the government had put together a taskforce without though about funding.
"Having the sate government interesting in this, it means they have a financial interest and Dubbo council welcomes this," he said.
"There is no other oval west of the Blue Mountains more appropriate than Apex oval.
"It's good that Dugald Saunders is on board with the council's position that we need a NRL game in Dubbo, particularly this financial year which will be tough due to the COVID-19 recession," he said.
Mr Saunders said their wasn't any funding attached to the announcement at this time and this was a planning taskforce.
"Council are not currently involved in getting an NRL game to Dubbo at this time. They will become involved when it is appropriate," Mr Saunders said.
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