Group 11 president Bob Walsh has hailed the announcement of South Sydney and Penrith playing at Dubbo as "wonderful" and something that can only be good for the game at a local level.
The NRL draw for next season was released on Thursday and it confirmed the Rabbitohs would take on this year's minor premiers and grand finalists Penrith at Apex Oval in a round 11 match on May 23.
Barring any increase in COVID restrictions, the match has the potential to draw a huge crowd given Penrith's strong connection to the western area as well as Souths having the most members of any NRL club.
"I thought we were lucky to get Souths when they announced they were coming here so to get Penrith with them is an added bonus," Walsh said.
"Especially with the opportunity of Isaah Yeo being Penrith captain. That would draw a really good crowd, for sure. It's wonderful."
NSW Origin representative and Panthers' Dally M Lock of the Year Yeo is in line to take over the top job next season and he's likely to be joined in Dubbo by Penrith teammate and fellow St John's junior Matt Burton.
As well as the Dubbo pair, the Penrith squad also features Wellington Cowboys junior Brent Naden, Forbes' Charlie Staines, and Billy Burns of Parkes.
The Rabbitohs, who will be the home side for the game, also have a connection to the region through Coonamble product and outside back Braidon Burns.
The match will kick-off at 2pm at Apex Oval and tickets will go on sale in the New Year.
Dubbo MP and chair of the NRL Regional Taskforce, Dugald Saunders, was delighted by the draw on Thursday and said it made sense to work with the Rabbitohs and Panthers.
"Penrith has an established presence within the Western Rams area, and with the likes of Isaah Yeo, Matt Burton and Brent Naden having their roots in Dubbo and Wellington it was a no-brainer," he said.
"As fate would have it we will now have a rematch of this years' grand final qualifier being played in Dubbo next year, which should also ensure it's of top quality, and I would like to thank the clubs for agreeing to be involved."
Dubbo Regional Council mayor Ben Shields also welcomed the announcement.
"The Rabbitohs will be providing training and coaching for some of our young players, and this will be a very exciting opportunity for youngsters who might not otherwise ever have the chance to meet players and develop their skills with some of the best in the business," he said.
"To see these guys able to play on home soil is very exciting. Getting an NRL game as opposed to a trial means we are seeing the best players in action and if that includes some local talent, that is better still."
The match will be one of two the Rabbitohs play in the Western Rams region next year.
The foundation club will also be making the trip to Mudgee again for the annual Charity Shield pre-season match against the St George Illawarra Dragons on February 27.
"The people in regional areas have shown they love their rugby league," Rabbitohs CEO Blake Jolly said.
"Hence why we're happy to do our part to take some of our games to these regional centres. All NRL clubs have an obligation to ensure that rugby league outside of Sydney is strong.
"We've also launched a new Central West Rabbitohs Membership this year encompassing our games in Dubbo and the Charity Shield in Mudgee in February, and we encourage all of our supporters in Dubbo to jump online and visit https://membership.rabbitohs.com.au to see what's on offer."
Walsh expects tickets to be snapped up for the game while he added news around the draw combined with local Group 11 clubs starting pre-season and locking in players rosters for next year made for an exciting time for the game.
"To be talking about next season and the NRL just instills more interest in our local competition," Walsh said.
"It gets people thinking about it."
Six NRL regular season matches will be played in regional areas in 2021 and the details of those were also locked in on Thursday.
As well as Dubbo in round 11, Mudgee will host a clash between the Manly Sea Eagles and Gold Coast Titans in round six, Bathurst will feature a round eight battle between the Panthers and Manly, Wagga will host Newcastle in a round nine match on May 8, the Cronulla Sharks will take on the Titans at Coffs Harbour in round 12, and the Wests Tigers and Sharks will clash at Tamworth in round 23.