WHAT a coup for the city.
Tamworth will host an NRL premiership clash at Scully Park for the next three seasons under welcomed news on Monday that two “marquee NRL clubs” are willing to sign on the dotted line.
Details remain scarce – despite unconfirmed reports the clubs will be St George and South Sydney – but the opportunities it brings to the region are far-reaching.
Each game would guarantee a capacity 10,000-strong crowd.
That won’t just do wonders for the sporting profile of NRL at a local club level, but the flow-on economic impact is huge.
Some of these patrons will inevitably come from out of town to catch high-profile sporting stars.
That means an injection of cash into the local economy, with accommodation, hospitality and retail set to capitalise on an influx of visitors.
It also strengthens Tamworth’s profile as the sporting hub of the region.
On top of securing these marquee NRL games, there are also talks for the Tamworth region to have its very own NSW Cup franchise – the competition directly under the NRL.
While both those announcements would be huge news on their own, the icing on the cake was the announcement that the iconic new Scully Park might be in line for an even further upgrade.
It comes as the state government announced a new $100m Regional Sports Infrastructure Fund, aimed at “improving the quality and quantity of sports venues in regional areas”.
Sport is synonymous with the bush, so it’s important we have the infrastructure in place to host high-profile games in regional centres like Tamworth.
Last October, mayor Col Murray called for more marquee events to be secured on the local sporting calendar on the back of a National Rugby Championship match being televised nationally from our very own Scully Park.
All eyes were on the city then.
Let’s hope that can be done again to continue to lift our profile.
Sport, and rugby league in particular, has a longstanding history in the region.
Keeping sport alive by harbouring interest at a club level, and giving regional centres access to high-profile games they’d otherwise only get to watch on a box is a huge win all round.