NRL To Play Matches In Queensland, New South Wales Country Towns In '18
The Australian bush has been "screaming out for top-level footy for what seems like an eternity" and its prayers "are set to be answered" next season as seven country towns in Queensland and NSW host National Rugby League games as part of the '18 draw, according to Brent Read of THE AUSTRALIAN. Premiership matches will be played in the NSW towns of Mudgee, Tamworth, Bathurst and Gosford next year, as well as in Gladstone, Toowoomba and Cairns in Queensland. It is the most games in regional centers "in the history of the premiership." Gold Coast Titans, which will be without a home ground for the opening month of the season due to the Commonwealth Games, "will take matches to Gladstone and Toowoomba." The Titans, which are being sold by the NRL, "remain in discussions with the state government over a stadium deal" for '18 and beyond. South Sydney will continue its "recent tradition" of taking games to Cairns and St. George Illawarra will host a match in Mudgee, "which will also host the annual Charity Shield match -- between the Rabbitohs and Dragons." NRL CEO Todd Greenberg said that the NRL worked with the clubs and Country Rugby League to "maximise the number of bush matches" in '18. He said, "We have said for some time it was our strong desire to take more games to regional venues in 2018, and we're extremely happy to have been able to do that as part of the new schedule" (THE AUSTRALIAN, 10/13).