The wait is finally over for Central West rugby league fans with the date of the 2020 Charity Shield revealed as Saturday, February 29.
Mayor of the Mid-Western Region Des Kennedy was joined by South Sydney Rabbitohs CEO Blake Solly and St George Illawarra Dragons CEO Brian Johnston for Wednesday's announcement at Mudgee's Glen Willow Stadium.
It will be the third time the Mudgee stadium has played host to the annual pre-season game as part of a four-year partnership between Mid-Western Regional Council, the Rabbitohs and the Dragons.
The 2018 and 2019 games broke attendance records at the venue with more than 9,000 spectators attending.
Mayor of the Mid-Western Region Des Kennedy said he was excited to welcome the clubs back to the region.
"It is always a pleasure to welcome back the Rabbitohs and Dragons who engage with our community each game with visits to schools, nursing homes and sporting clubs.
"This shared partnership is a major benefit to our region, both from a social and recreational standpoint as well as economically, and only further demonstrates that Glen Willow is the best stadium in regional NSW.
"It looks to be a bumper weekend, with visitors to the region encouraged to experience an authentic country show in Gulgong and exciting race meet in Mudgee in addition to experiencing all the footy action up close and personal at the Glen Willow Stadium."
Dragons CEO Johnston said the club is looking forward to returning to Mudgee in 2020.
"We are all delighted to be returning to Mudgee for our third-straight season to play what is an important game on our annual calendar," Mr Johnston said.
"Not only is the Charity Shield played for a number of good causes; it's also proven to be an enjoyable spectacle for the Central West locals and the ideal preparation for both combatants over the past 37 years.
"We have thoroughly enjoyed engaging with local communities throughout the Central West in past years, and this will be no different when the Dragons return to the area in February."
Rabbitohs CEO Solly is delighted to be returning to Mudgee for the 37th Charity Shield.
"Everyone at the Rabbitohs is excited about returning to Glen Willow Stadium for the Charity Shield next year," Mr Solly said.
"The town has embraced our club over the past two seasons. We also feel our club and Souths Cares have embraced the town by playing top quality football and working in the community through Souths Cares' programs.
“It’s important for our club, and the sport in general, to support the people that support us. The people of Mudgee and its surrounding areas in Central West NSW have shown time and again that rugby league is in their veins, and they are prepared to come out and support not only our team, but also our nominated charity in Souths Cares.
"It's a great way for us to put the final touches to our pre-season preparations as we work towards our round one fixture against the Sharks. I know the players have always said the Charity Shield is the closest pre-season game in terms of intensity to that which they experience in the NRL proper, and the coaching staff also see the Charity Shield as a fair-dinkum audition for Round 1. We can't wait for kick-off!"
Dragons and Rabbitohs member pre-sale opens 11am, Wednesday, October 30 with tickets released to the general public on Friday, November 1 at 11am.
Tickets will be available from www.123tix.com.au. Dragons and Rabbitohs club member entitlements apply. Refer to your membership information for more details.
Bumper Charity Shield weekend in the Mudgee Region
Visitors to the region are invited to experience a traditional country show at the 132nd Gulgong Show on Saturday, February 29, the morning of the game. Enjoy a full day of entertainment including shearing demonstrations, yard dog trials, whip cracking, petting zoo, rodeo and much more.
On Sunday, March 1, Mudgee Race Club will host the Country Championships Central District Heat Race Day. Tickets can be purchased as an add-on to football ticket purchases at 123tix.com.au