The Roar
The Roar


The NRL should bring more games to the country

Roar Guru
28th July, 2014

The game at Bathurst was a great showcase for the NRL. It featured a good crowd (remembering country grounds don’t cater for your 10,000 crowd numbers) with people travelling from way out of town to attend.

Should this be repeated each year? I’d answer with a very loud and emphatic yes.

The clubs and NRL do show a certain amount of disdain to country areas in throwing them a few crumbs like trial games. The City versus Country game is played in rural areas but, as it is solely made up of country and city State of Origin players, no players in country NSW are involved.

If any game is to go from the football calendar it will most likely be this one.

What we need from the NRL is to have them allocate country areas to each club. They can foster the area and play at least one competition game a season (two would be better) there.

After all, clubs do cherry pick the best of the young players in rural areas. This would be a form of appreciation shown by the clubs. The clubs would also be expected to provide coaching clinics for the kids.

We keep hearing from all and sundry that the NRL wants to promote the grassroots of the game – here is a way to do so on a regular basis, not an ad hoc one that has existed in the past.

Allocating country areas to the clubs wouldn’t be hard. St George Illawarra could look after Illawarra, South Coast and Southern Highlands, Penrith the Central West Region, Newcastle the Hunter and Central Coast.


The Storm would have the most difficult area as there would be few rugby fields in rural Victoria, but with only three NRL teams in Queensland, the Storm could be allocated an area there.

As an incentive, the allocated club would be allowed first choice pick of any youngsters in the area they look after. This did work for the old VFL before it became a national competition, with South Melbourne looking after parts of the southern Riverina and Essendon in part the northern Riverina (home of the Daniher brothers).

Another benefit would be that up-and-coming stars would be fast tracked into rugby league and not tempted to drift into AFL or rugby union.