12 June 2024

NRLW is coming to town: Wagga's partnership with Raiders continues

| Jarryd Rowley
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The Canberra Raiders will make their annual trip to Wagga again this July and this time their NRLW team will take the stage.

The Canberra Raiders will make their annual trip to Wagga again this July and this time their NRLW team will take the stage. Photo: Wagga Wagga City Council.

The Canberra Raiders have continued their relationship with Wagga Wagga by agreeing to host a preseason NRLW game at McDonalds Park this July.

Junee’s Elise Smith and Leeton’s Ua Ravu are set to return to the Riverina for the game as part of the Raiders outfit that will take on 2023 premiers, the Newcastle Knights.

Canberra Raiders CEO Don Furner said the Raiders were looking forward to the club’s first-ever NRLW trial match in Wagga Wagga and continuing the strong association with the region.

“We’re excited to be able to return to Wagga Wagga this year for this NRLW trial match and showcase the women’s game in a city and region that supports us,” Furner said.

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“We didn’t have a trial match for the NRLW in our first season and I know coach Darrin Borthwick is looking forward to using this game as his major preparation for the season, so all of our stars will be out to press their case for selection come round one of the regular season.

“Although we didn’t have the NRL fixture in Wagga Wagga this year, we’re excited to return to McDonalds Park and give rugby league fans the opportunity to come and experience the NRLW.

“It’s also a really good opportunity to promote women’s rugby league and help encourage the next generation of young female players to take up the sport and start their own NRLW dream.”

Wagga Wagga has seen an influx of elite women’s sports come through the city this year with the Super Netball, Women’s NSW Open and Australian Women’s Classic golf tournaments all touching down.

Council’s City Growth and Regional Assets Manager Ben Creighton said he believed that having top-level sports coming to the city meant young girls contemplating playing sport as a career got the opportunity to see what pursuing elite sports looked like.

“There is a level of professionalism and excitement that having a club like the Raiders visiting, brings,” he said.

“I think that can only be beneficial in terms of attracting people to the game and the development of the game locally.

“I think it’s just great that we were able to provide that elite-level women’s content to the city.

“We’ve had a lot of the male elite level sport over the years so it’s a really great opportunity to bring this content to the city and really demonstrate to young girls out there that anything’s possible.”‘

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Mr Creighton said the match would provide a great opportunity to shine a spotlight on women’s rugby league and give the region’s young female footy players the chance to see their sporting heroes and role models in action.

“We have a great track record of hosting and supporting sporting events in the city and it’s fantastic to see we will now be adding a preseason game of this elite women’s competition to that list.

“The game is also expected to deliver broader benefits to the community, delivering flow-on effects for local businesses who can capitalise on the visitors to the city.”

The preseason match between Canberra Raiders and Newcastle Knights will kick off at 2 pm at McDonalds Park on Saturday 6 July.

Admission to the event will be free.

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