Dubbo Regional Council mayor Ben Shields is hopeful a strong crowd for May's NRL match at Apex Oval can help make the city "the number one footy destination in inland NSW".
Tickets for the May 23 match between South Sydney and Penrith will go on sale to Rabbitohs members on Wednesday morning while the general public can buy their tickets from Friday.
Tickets will start from as low as $15 while family passes will be available from $70.
The Rabbitohs announced in October of last year they would be playing NRL matches in Dubbo in 2021 and 2022.
Mudgee and Bathurst have hosted NRL clubs St George Illawarra and Penrith respectively on a regular occasion in recent years and there is hopes a long-term deal between the Rabbitohs and Dubbo can be established to match that.
"Mudgee and Bathurst, who are they? They don't concern me," Cr Shields fired, having been inundated with questions about ticket availability in recent months.
"I think if we play our cards right over the next few coming years we can certainly overtake them when it comes to big footy games.
"The reality is neither of those have the accommodation or professional facilities that Dubbo does. All roads point to Dubbo when it comes to having big games out here.
"We need to highlight that and cement a long-term relationship with a major club like Souths and if we can do that we will become the outright, number one footy destination in inland NSW.
"That is my personal goal. I want this to happen."
I am really keen to go hard at it to try and get Dubbo to be the secondary home for South Sydney.Cr Ben Shields
While it may be the mayor's goal, he is well aware it well depend on the success of the May 23 fixture.
A crowd of more than 10,000, pending any COVID restrictions, is a possibility for the clash between the two genuine premiership contenders.
The Rabbitohs, alongside the Parramatta Eels, are the only club with more than 29,000 members this year while Penrith has a strong connection with the western area and juniors from the region like Isaah Yeo (Dubbo), Matt Burton (Dubbo), Brent Naden (Wellington), Charlie Staines (Forbes), and Billy Burns (Parkes) could all play at Apex Oval this season.
"As a long-term thing, I am really keen to go hard at it to try and get Dubbo to be the secondary home for South Sydney. I think it makes so much sense," Cr Shields said.
"That will be largely drawn on the back of this game so we need to make this game work. If we can build a good relationship and rapport with South Sydney good things will continue to happen and that's when we can work on a long-term partnership."
The mayor pointed to the Rabbitohs' strong connection with Indigenous communities as a reason it makes sense to connect the club to Dubbo while he also said the city had a huge amount of South Sydney fans in place.
"I do know two things about footy," Cr Shields added.
"One is the dollars it brings into Dubbo and the crowds and the second thing is the social cohesion. It attracts people of all social demographics all as equals.
"That is something, as a city of Dubbo, we need to continually chase."
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