Raiders shift home games from Canberra to Wagga for NRL in 2019-20
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Raiders shift home games from Canberra to Wagga for NRL in 2019-20

The Canberra Raiders have signed a deal to play less games in the capital for the next two seasons, shifting a home match to Wagga Wagga for the 2019 and 2020 campaigns.

The Wagga council finalised a two-year agreement on Monday night to host the Raiders as the NRL looks to reconnect with regional areas.

The Raiders will take the Viking clap to Wagga next year.

The Raiders will take the Viking clap to Wagga next year.Credit:Rohan Thomson

The Raiders have a contract with the ACT government to play every home match at Canberra Stadium, but the club has decided to connect with an "extraordinary" support base in Wagga. The Raiders will still play 11 matches in Canberra in the regular season.

Inconsistent results and a failure to make the finals led to Raiders average home crowds dipping by almost 3000 this year, but the club still attracted almost 16,000 fans to their last match in the capital last weekend.

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The Wagga council has an option to extend the arrangement for third year. Raiders chief executive Don Furner said: "The Raiders are excited about taking a premiership fixture to Wagga for the next two seasons as we have always felt we are the club that represents NSW Country in the NRL.

"The Riverina is a great rugby league region and we proud to be able to take an NRL competition match there next season.

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"We have an extraordinary number of members and fans that attend games in Canberra from the Riverina, so to commit one premiership game to Wagga in each of the next two seasons is a small club gesture to show our appreciation of their support."

Support from Wagga was part of a wider plan by the Raiders to secure funding for their new $19 million centre of excellence in Braddon.

The NSW government committed $4 million to the building, which will become a hub for country rugby league players.

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