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Following the launch of our Bushfire Appeal earlier this week, the Parramatta Eels will be taking the trial match against the Penrith Panthers to Bega on Saturday, February 29 to support the recovery of the bushfire devastated NSW South Coast region.

Both clubs will embed their squads in the region for three days and participate in a host of player-led activities and public events in nearby towns.

We are encouraging our Members and fans to make the trip to Bega and help lift the community spirit by bringing back dollars to the local economy.

Parramatta Eels chief executive Jim Sarantinos said the Bega match was an example of what the game could achieve when it worked as one. 

“This is an opportunity to have a genuine impact on the region. Our players are looking forward to spending a few days in the community, participating in events with locals, and help rebuild a community,’’ he said. 

NRL chief executive Todd Greenberg said the announcement formed part of rugby league’s coordinated whole of game response to the bushfire crisis.

“This is an opportunity to provide the locals with a small respite from what has happened, acknowledge and thank the local heroes, and to deliver a much needed economic boost to the region.

“Everyone I speak to on the South Coast has the same message - we need visitors to come back to the area, stay in our motels, eat in our restaurants, visit our beaches and shop in our stores.”

Both the Federal and State Governments, Bega Valley Shire Council, NSWRL, the RLPA and the NRL’s broadcast partners Nine and FOX SPORTS Australia will support the event which aims to celebrate the local community and bring visitors back to the Sapphire Coast. 

Bega Mayor Kristy McBain encouraged people from across the state to travel to the match and stay overnight in the area. 

“Our economy has taken a significant hit across a number of industries. It’s critical we keep taking action to bring some security to local jobs and the families they support.  

“I want to thank the NRL for creating this opportunity – it means the world to people.  

“To those who have a connection with and love for the Bega Valley and Sapphire Coast I invite you to visit us and share this experience. You will be well looked after, but more than that you will play a role in making sure our region and people continue to thrive.”

In the coming weeks we will put together a list of local businesses that Members and fans can help support when making plans to visit Bega for the trial match.