ARMIDALE is gearing up for its first NRL trial match in almost 20 years when Parramatta Eels and Newcastle Knights collide on February 2.
Not since 1993 has Armidale staged an NRL pre-season game.
Ensuring it is a major success has motivated locals to take every precaution to make sure all the collisions are on the field.
Planning for the match, and the accompanying social activities, have been under way for quite some time said UNE Sports Business Development Unit director Dave Schmude.
“The logistics of such a large event are extensive and the event itself will have a very positive roll-on effect for the wider community,” Schmude said.
“All aspects of the day have been addressed by UNE representatives and their community counterparts.
Special event-marked buses will be running a continual loop between the uni and the town with various pickup and drop off points, which will be advised closer to the time. This will be a free service for all pre-purchased trial match ticket-holders, which can be purchased on-line.
“This will make it a lot easier for patrons to enjoy their day out. There will be a great atmosphere all around town on the day, so catching the bus will probably be a really fun way to go.”
The wheels are turning rapidly at UNE as they gear up to host the NRL Parramatta Eels for their 2013 pre-season training camp at the end of January.
The team will eat, sleep and train on campus at UNE from January 29 to February 3, with the finale being the February 2 trial match between Ricky Stuart’s Parramatta Eels and Wayne Bennett’s Newcastle Knights.
It is Parra’s first trial match of the season and will be preceeded by a free junior rugby league coaching clinic, where children can pick up some tips from some of the best in the game, followed by two curtain raisers between the Parramatta Eels Academy’s U16s and U18s teams and the Western Greater Northern Rugby League Academy combined U17 and 18s and U18 sides.
Schmude said tickets were selling quickly.
“The community is excited about having the opportunity to watch such a high profile match so close to home,” he said.
“Already all the general admission tickets to the grandstand have been snapped up, however there are still a number of general admission and corporate hospitality tickets available, which can be purchased online at www.une.edu.au or for further inquiries visit this site or contact SportUNE on 6773 5186.”
The Knights are also scheduled to play Cronulla Sharks in Tamworth on