KNIGHTS AND SHARKS
LEAGUE fans will soon have even more reasons to celebrate, with the Newcastle Knights and Cronulla Sharks to go head-to-head in a trial match at Tamworth’s Scully Park later this month.
The game follows on from the resounding success of the sold-out Canberra Raiders and Canterbury Bulldogs pre-
season game at the venue in February 2011, with 4000 eager fans enjoying the chance to watch NRL teams compete in Tamworth.
Tamworth Regional Council is seeking to emulate that success this time around, with 4000 tickets to be again made available for the Saturday, February 23, game.
The Scully Park car park, which fronts Kent St, will be transformed into a seating area, as will the other side of the park, with seats coming from the Tamworth Regional Entertainment and Conference Centre.
The Knights will arrive in Tamworth on Tuesday, February 19, and take part in league coaching clinics and training sessions in the city, as well as visit local schools. They will also make Jack Woolaston Oval their base during their stay.
Sharks players will arrive on Friday, February 22, and be involved in promotional opportunities later that day and on the morning of the game.
Council business events manager Gavin Flanagan said the Knights would be treating the match like a “home game”.
“Tickets have been selling really well, but there are still some good tickets available for the game. We’re pretty confident that the game will sell out,” Mr Flanagan said.
“If people are looking to purchase tickets, they’ll need to do that as quickly as they possibly can, so they don’t miss out. There’s only a limited number of seats available.
“It’ll actually have that stadium-type atmosphere, as if they went to a real NRL game.”
He said the difference with this year’s games was both teams would be bringing their under-20s sides with them to compete in a curtain-raiser before the main game.
“You’ll get to see the real up-and-coming talent for both the Knights and the Sharks showcased as part of that, before the main game,” Mr Flanagan said.
He said the Scully Park ground also had to be “expertly prepared to NRL standards”.
“Trent Maddens and the ground staff at Wests do a sensational job to get it to that point. Both the Waratahs last year, and also Canterbury and Canberra the previous year, were really impressed with the surface, given we’re a country venue,” he said.
“The great thing for us is that not only is Wests involved from a Group 4 perspective, but the North Tamworth Bears get a chance to be involved, by hosting the Knights for a couple of training sessions at Jack Woolaston Oval.
“It allows us to basically utilise Scully Park as just the playing surface.”
He said the council ran the NRL games as “entrepreneurial ventures” and was confident of again breaking even.