THE New Zealand Warriors are set to make a return to Tamworth to do battle with the Newcastle Knights on August 29.
The clash, which was announced on Monday, will be the first time the club has returned to Scully Park since quarantining in Tamworth for two weeks in May.
As a sign of thanks for hosting the club in a quarantine period, which allowed them to compete in the NRL season, the Warriors opted to move their Round 16 fixture from Sunshine Coast Stadium to Tamworth.
Wests League Club chief executive officer Rod Laing said the ground's capacity would be restricted to 3000 spectators.
"The NRL toured the facility late last week with their bio-security experts to ensure all the NRL's bio-security measures could be adopted here in Tamworth," Mr Laing told the Leader.
"The capacity will be around 3000, which is around 25 per cent of the ground's usual capacity.
"There's a few hoops for us to jump through in regards to having everything set up, but it shouldn't be a problem and we are very excited."
NSW Deputy Premier John Barilaro said the game would provide a much-needed boost to regional communities feeling the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.
"This year I set an ambitious goal to bring first-grade footy to the bush and today [Monday] I can announce the NSW Government is delivering on that commitment by partnering with the NRL to bring a premiership game to Tamworth," Mr Barilaro said.
"The COVID-19 pandemic has caused a lot of lows around our great state but one thing that has remained strong and kept our spirits high is our love of footy.
"I have said in the past that rugby league is the fabric of life in the bush so to see the elite level of the game return to its grassroots base is truly exciting."
NRL boss Peter V'landys said the game would be the perfect way to acknowledge the region's role in helping keep the season alive.
"We want to thank the Tamworth community and businesses for their kindness, support and hospitality shown to the Warriors whilst they were in their beautiful town,'' Mr V'landys said.
"Allowing the Warriors to quarantine in Tamworth played an important role in the season resuming on May 28.
"We also want to thank the NSW Government for their ongoing assistance throughout the pandemic."
Mr Laing said Tamworth locals who dug deep to support the Warriors would have first crack at securing tickets to the game.
"We have asked that the Warriors' members have first bite of the cherry," he said.
"There was over 1000 members sign up locally, so we thought it would be great to reward them and to help limit the amount of people from outside the region coming to the game.
"I think this will make us the only regional centre in NSW to host a game this season, which goes to show how highly regarded we are by the NRL."