TAMWORTH’S reputation as a major sporting venue gained more momentum yesterday when Destination Tamworth announced Australian Kangaroo Paul Gallen and his Cronulla Sharks will descend on Tamworth next year to play the Newcastle Knights in a February 23 NRL pre-season trial at Scully Park.
Negotiations for the top-level match featuring the likes of Gallen, Willie Mason and Todd Carney were finalised with the Hunter Sports Group this week, TRC Business Events manager Gavan Flanagan said.
Not only will the Sharks and Knights play an NRL trial in Tamworth at Scully Park on February 23 but their Under 20 NYC sides will also match up.
Flanagan said it was another sporting coup for the city, the third straight season where high-level football will have been showcased at Scully Park.
Last year the Canterbury Bulldogs and Canberra Raiders played an NRL trial at Scully and this year the NSW Waratahs played Samoa in a pre-season rugby union trial while the Newcastle Jets and Brisbane Roar also played a pre-season A League football (soccer) game at Scully Park.
“The people of our region will get the opportunity to see some of the biggest names in the NRL,” Flanagan said of February’s Knights-Sharks clash.
“Kurt Gidley, Danny Buderus, Willie Mason, Todd Carney and Paul Gallen are all household names.
“It will also be great to see some of the best young talent in Australian rugby league, with the Under 20 teams playing a curtainraiser.
“It will truly be a great night for footy fans across the region.”
He said the Knights would visit a number of schools and host coaching clinics and make promotional appearances during their visit.
Cronulla is also eager to be involved in the community visits.
The match continues a long line of major sporting events in the city such as the three-year deal with the Sydney Kings and hosting recent Eastern University Games and Australian basketball championships.
“The recent announcement that Tamworth will host the NSW Country Rugby Championships next March strengthens the region’s growing reputation as a major sporting destination,” Flanagan said.