The St George Illawarra Dragons, in conjunction with the NRL, have announced a two-year partnership with Mudgee that will see the club play four matches at Glen Willow Regional Sports Complex.
The partnership means the Red V will take an NRL Telstra Premiership game to the home of the Mudgee Dragons in 2018 and 2019.
The date and opponent for the 2018 home game in Mudgee will be confirmed once the NRL Draw is released later this month.
The Dragons – alongside the South Sydney Rabbitohs – will also play the 35th and 36th edition of the annual Charity Shield game in Mudgee in 2018 and 2019. The 2018 Charity Shield will take place on Saturday, February 24.
Mudgee and surrounding areas in the Central West will play host to a vast number of community and development activities across the two years, with details being finalised.
Mid-Western Regional Council mayor Des Kennedy described the partnership as “a fantastic opportunity for regional fans to watch the NRL live in action and meet them face-to-face”.
"We're extremely excited. It shows the club's faith in our world class facility that, in May this year, hosted the final ever Country vs City Origin before a crowd of more than 8,300,” Cr Kennedy said.
He said the partnership was a “natural fit” and the games “will be well supported by our local and wider regional community".
Dragons' chairman Brian Johnston said the partnership will prove important in the long-term prosperity of country rugby league, saying, “the Dragons have a large and avid supporter base across all regional markets, in particular the Central West ”.
"The opportunity [in Mudgee] ensures the Dragons play a leading role in the continued development of rugby league in the bush.”
"We enjoy a long standing association with the Mudgee Dragons, and through Mayor Des Kennedy the Council have expressed a strong desire to see the Dragons play in Mudgee particularly given the quality of the Glen Willow facilities," Johnston added.
"I grew up in Dunedoo myself so I understand first-hand what bringing the NRL to Mudgee will mean to the Central West. The Dragons look forward to having great support when we are in town for the Charity Shield in February."
Ticketing details for the Charity Shield and NRL fixture are still to be finalised and will be communicated to all supporters as soon as possible.