Appetite for NRL shows what it means to Dubbo

It has been fascinating to see the response to my Mayoral Minute to bring an NRL match to Dubbo. There is no doubt whatsoever that Dubbo is a sporting town and the enthusiasm to see a match here is incredible.

One of the major aspects of the Mayoral Minute was judging the appetite from ratepayers towards getting a game and the early indication is that there is overwhelming support.

I firmly believe it would be a brilliant thing for the Dubbo region’s economy and also for morale within the community. It has been a tough few years with the drought and now the widespread devastation of the Coronavirus pandemic so we shouldn’t underestimate the importance of events that raise our spirits.

One of the most hotly contested topics surrounding an NRL game for Dubbo is which teams should play here. I’ve already made it quite clear that I won’t be biased because of my support for a team, given that I am the least sporty person in town.

There is no doubt there are a few teams that seem quite popular amongst the public. Souths, the Bulldogs, Parramatta and Penrith seem to be amongst the most in demand in conversations I have had and sampling on Facebook.

Both Canterbury and Penrith have players from around this region so that would give a match here some additional local links.

Despite my confession that I am not an NRL fan, it has been a lot of fun hearing from other people and learning about the passion people have for their teams. The reality is that a match we will get here will be determined by who is willing to bring a game to Dubbo. That will be the first requirement of our investigation, determining which teams are open to the idea.

Our city has a proven record of drawing big crowds for games like this, such as the City Country match in 2014 which attracted 9600 people in wintery conditions, and more than 8000 people turned out for a trial match between the Bulldogs and Canberra in 2010.

There is plenty to do from here. Ideally I would like to see a game here in 2021. It would tie in very well with Dubbo’s efforts to lead the recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. If we could get 10,000 or more people into Apex Oval, with people coming from all across the region and the state, it would be a massive boost to accommodation providers, those in the hospitality industry and retail.

There would be flow-on effects for other tourism attractions and the overall boost it would provide would be invaluable for the region.

On a related note, it is exciting to see that more and more businesses are opening and we are getting back to some sort of normal. Obviously we still need to maintain social distancing and not get complacent but it is great that more people are able to return to work and I hope it continues.

Last Edited: 07 Aug 2020

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