Bushfire communities benefit from trial tribute

The EISS Super Sapphire Trial Tribute between the Penrith Panthers and Parramatta Eels has injected an estimated $4.7 million into local communities on the Sapphire Coast.

The NRL, NSW Government and Bega Valley Shire Council, who joined forces to make the event happen, made the announcement prior to kick-off in the Penrith Panthers v Parramatta Eels trial in Bega.

The festival of footy, which will culminate in a concert headlined by ARIA award winning artist Amy Shark, brought thousands of visitors to the Sapphire Coast region, re-starting the economy in the wake of the devastating bushfires.

NRL Chief Executive, Todd Greenberg thanked the game’s broadcast, commercial and government partners as well as the NSWRL, the RLPA and the Panthers and Eels for their tireless effort in bringing the Trial Tribute to life.

The $4.7 million, compiled by the National Institute of Economic and Industry research, was calculated on the estimated visitor spend and investment from the NRL and broadcasters in the region.

“This has been a remarkable week. The rugby league community and our partners have come together to create something really special and show the nation that the Sapphire Coast is open for business,” Mr Greenberg said.

“I thank everyone involved in the lead up to this match for the role they’ve played and the money they’ve spent in townships across the Sapphire Coast region. Visitors have opened their hearts and their wallets to help the region get back on its feet.

“There’s a long way to go. But we hope we have made a practical difference to townships in this area and we will continue to do everything we can in the weeks and months ahead, as only rugby league can.”

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian said it was heartening to see the NRL and supporters get behind the community.

“My heartfelt thanks go to the NRL for making this match in Bega possible,” Ms Berejiklian said.

“I’m excited to be here enjoying a great pre-season event that’s giving a much needed boost to the local community.”

Member for Bega Andrew Constance said the NRL had turned on an amazing event for the community.

“We have been at rock bottom over the past months, but we are so thankful for the support of everyone in the NRL family and beyond to come here and support us all,” Mr Constance said.

“The events over the past few days across each corner of our communities has been incredible and so vital to the region as we begin our economic recovery and rebuild.”

Bega Valley Mayor Kristy McBain said the local community is very grateful.

“Wow, almost $5 million,” Cr McBain said. “This injection into our economy comes at one of the most challenging times in our history.

“This provides a boost to business and we all know small business is doing it tough in our area.

“On top of the dollars and cents, is the sense of community that came from the event. Bringing people together to share good times and recharge in the midst of our recovery effort is priceless.

“Thank you to the NRL and their sponsors and thank you to all the people who answered the call to come and visit the Bega Valley this weekend.”

Further fundraising efforts for those affected by recent natural disasters will continue across Round One of the 2020 NRL Telstra Premiership, with the NRL partnering with the Salvation Army to raise donations.

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