By BRAD GREENSHIELDS
HAVING just announced the ING CUP cricket match between NSW and Victoria, the Coffs Harbour Sports Unit are ensuring that the summer hits keep on coming for sports fans in the area.
The NRL will now be coming to town when the Newcastle Knights and Cronulla Sharks play a trial game at the International Stadium on February 25.
This gives league fans a chance to see close up some of the best players in Australia and Sports Unit Manager, Ben Payne couldn't be more excited.
"Joey's battle with Brett Kimmorley, the current Kangaroos halfback, will be worth travelling many miles to see," he said.
"Throw in State of Origin forwards Steve Simpson, Danny Nutley, Ben Ross and Kiwi internationals Tevita Latu and Nigel Vagana and Coffs Harbour is in for a rugby league treat.
"With Newcastle's recent run of form proving what a wonderful team they are and the Cronulla Sharks heading for the finals, we are set for an exciting game next year."
Many of the NRL clubs were impressed with the success of the Sevens tournament hosted by Orara Valley at the beginning of this season and the Knights and Sharks jumped at the opportunity to play a trial game at the International Stadium.
Mayor Keith Rhoades admits that he can't wait to see another top level sporting event in the area, not only for himself but for the large quantity of sport's lovers in the region.
"Coffs Harbour's strong support of rugby league, which was proved by the outstanding success of the Orara Valley Sevens has been rewarded with another premier NRL trial game," he said.
"This event is yet another in the growing list of major sporting occasions and competitions being hosted in and around the city."
Tickets will be going on sale early in the new year and both clubs have made a firm commitment to hosting junior rugby league clinics along with a signing session prior to the match.
Having played a lot of their previous Northern NSW trial games in Port Macquarie and Ballina, the Cronulla team's match in Coffs Harbour has caused a lot of excitement within the Shark's camp.
"The team is very much looking forward to coming to Coffs Harbour for the game," Sharks' General Manager, Steve Rogers said.
"They know they'll get a lot of support from local fans as well as enjoy some excellent rugby league facilities."