Footy fans to get rare glimpse of NRL action
By SAMANTHA TURNBULL
BEN PACKER'S football career may be over, but he will not miss the chance to see a National Rugby League trial match between Parramatta and Cronulla in Lismore this weekend.
The former Byron Bay reserve grade player was put out of action after breaking his arm, but was yesterday quick to snap up a ticket to the NRL trial match.
"I go for the Broncos, but it will be good to see two NRL teams playing in the region, no matter who they are," said The Channon 25-year-old.
Ben's workmate, Adam Anderson, 28, of Casino, said he was going along more for the atmosphere than the football.
"I'm actually into rugby union, but it will be good to have a couple of beers and a feed while we watch the game," he said.
Match organiser and Northern Rivers Regional Rugby League secretary, Doug Harrison, said there had not been a game of this level in Lismore since 1995.
He said Lismore's Oakes Oval was the perfect venue for the event. "Coffs Harbour and Newcastle are the only other regional centres with facilities like this," he said.
"Matthew Ridge, the former Manly fullback, said there was only one ground better than this one, and that was Wembley Stadium in the UK."
Lismore mayor Merv King said the city would reap many benefits from the game.
"The financial benefits are very important," he said.
"This will bring hundreds of thousands of dollars to Lismore."
Gates open on Saturday at 1pm. Tickets are available from Howard Media in Molesworth Street, Lismore.
Other games before the NRL match include: U15s Northern Riv- ers V Palm Beach, U16s Northern Rivers representative side V Palm Beach, U17s Northern Rivers development squad V Northern Division development squad, Qld Seagulls V USA Tomahawks.