A combination of enthusiasm and experience was said to be what helped secure the return of an NRL round match to Mudgee, when the 2021 Manly vs Gold Coast game was discussed at Glen Willow on Friday.
Sea Eagles CEO Stephen Humphreys, who was also keen to spruik the hashtags #ManlytoMudgee and #BeachestotheBush, said Council's pitch was too good to pass-up.
"It was their enthusiasm for this event and the determination to make it happen, that in the end for us was simply irresistible - we had to do it," he said.
And added that the event is in line with Australian Rugby League Commission chairman Peter V'landys' push to take high standard footy to regional areas. As the April match will feature State of Origin and international level players.
"He's very determined to put back into country Rugby League and get it back to where we want it to be. That vision and that desire to bring football to the people of regional NSW really resonated with our club and board and we're really pleased to be part of it," he said.
State Member Dugald Saunders, who also chairs the NRL regional taskforce, said Glen Willow "ticked all the boxes we were looking for", with plenty of big match experience hosting multiple Charity Shields, City vs Country Origins, and more.
"When I was made chair of this taskforce, we pinpointed locations that we thought could facilitate competition games next year in an effort to take top-level footy back to the bush post-COVID. The ability to put a game here straight away was one of the reasons that this site was chosen, along with the willingness of Council to run with it and show they were very keen to host an NRL game," he said.
Mayor Des Kennedy expects "hosting the mighty Manly Sea Eagles and Queensland's leading team", will again benefit local tourism industry. And there's already some cross-over.
"It's a wonderful economic boost to the Region when we host these events. And we have an association with the Northern Beaches, as a matter of fact the three leading areas for visitors to this region are the Northern Beaches, the Shire, and the Castle Hill area," he said.
Do you want more Mudgee and regional news? Receive our free newsletters delivered to your inbox, as well as breaking news alerts. Sign up below ...