NRL see All Stars feeding Sydney hunger
Andrew Abdo is adamant eight months without rugby league in Sydney can help next season's Indigenous and Maori All Stars buck the trend of poor representative crowds in the city.
The NRL confirmed on Tuesday that the All Stars game would be played in Sydney for the first time next year, on February 12 at CommBank Stadium.
It will mark the first game in NSW since last July, while crowds have not been at any NRL event in Sydney since Parramatta beat Canterbury on June 20.
The NRL will bank on that hunger for live football plus the growth of the All Stars format when it comes to a crowd in western Sydney.
The last marquee event outside of the competition to be played at the ground flopped, with just 28,212 attending across the two days of the World Cup Nines in 2019.
The Kangaroos have also played just two Tests in Sydney over the past decade, owing to poor crowds and an inability to sell out.
Crowds at Pacific Tests have however been slightly better, with the 17,000-seat Campbelltown Stadium selling out in 2018 and 2019 for the event.
The All Stars match meanwhile has traditionally sold out or gone close to when played on the Gold Coast, Brisbane, Newcastle, Melbourne and Townsville since 2010.
"It just seems like the timing is right," Abdo said.
"This is a phase of renewal of the economy and giving people the confidence of coming to events again.
"There are always multiple challenges with live events. You are competing with people's time and entertainment expenditure.
"You always have to make sure you have great content. I think the All Stars week is pretty special, it's not just a game, it's a week.
"In Sydney at this point in time, people are hungry to see this clash ... We will have live sport again, we will have a very good crowd here."
Meanwhile Indigenous star Josh Addo-Carr backed the move for the match to be played in Sydney for the first time, with a touch football component to join the men's and women's Indigenous and Maori clashes.
"It's extra special for it to be in Sydney, my family have always asked when it will be here," Addo-Carr said.
"I have family right across NSW. It's been tough for them to travel to Queensland, so to have it in Sydney and have my mob be here will be pretty special."
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