Venues NSW chairman David Gallop has implored the NRL to implement the initiative next year.

“The Eora Round is an exciting concept and will be a great celebration of Indigenous culture in Sydney with some of our other home teams,” Gallop told this masthead.

South Sydney Rabbitohs’ Indigenous Round jersey launch in 2023.

South Sydney Rabbitohs’ Indigenous Round jersey launch in 2023.

“I was involved in establishing the Indigenous All Stars while at the NRL and saw first-hand how much pride the players and fans took in it.

“We hope the Eora Round develops into a special new marquee event at Allianz Stadium that will celebrate the great contribution of Indigenous athletes to rugby league and bring our whole community closer together.”

The Roosters tried to get the concept off the ground for this year but only had South Sydney’s support when they pitched the idea last season.

They’ve since managed to convince new Wests Tigers chief executive Shane Richardson to take one of the club’s home games to Moore Park if the NRL approves the concept.

Latrell Mitchell after kicking a goal in Souths’ win over the Roosters in the first week of the 2022 finals.

Latrell Mitchell after kicking a goal in Souths’ win over the Roosters in the first week of the 2022 finals.Credit: Matt King/Getty Images

“Eora Round represents an exciting opportunity to celebrate our incredible Indigenous culture and reinforce Sydney’s place as the premier sporting destination in Australia,” NSW minister for sport Steve Kamper said.

“These festivals of sport are increasingly popular with the fans and can deliver a real boost to the local Sydney economy.”

The Tigers held a board meeting on Monday where Richardson presented the club’s stadium strategy for the next few years following a $40 million government funding injection into Leichhardt Oval.

The Tigers are expected to take home games against Parramatta and Penrith to CommBank Stadium next year. They’ll also host a game at Magic Round, splitting the remaining eight home games between Leichhardt and Campbelltown.

Wests Tigers CEO Shane Richardson and Inner West Mayor Darcy Byrne.

Wests Tigers CEO Shane Richardson and Inner West Mayor Darcy Byrne.Credit: Edwina Pickles/SMH

The Herald has obtained an email, sent to NRL chief executive Andrew Abdo, that was also sent to eight NRL clubs, by Venues NSW chief executive Kerrie Mather.

Mather has written to Abdo regarding a number of scheduling requests as the NRL begins work on the 2025 draw.

The requests include:

  • Eora Round: Indigenous round concept featuring the Roosters v Bulldogs, Rabbitohs v
    Eels and Tigers v Dragons played over three consecutive days at Allianz Stadium
  • Panthers v Bulldogs on a long weekend at CommBank Stadium
  • Anzac Day: Knights v Cowboys alternating years to celebrate the military presence in
    both cities
  • Anzac Day eve match at Allianz Stadum between Rabbitohs and Manly
  • Dragons v Raiders on a Saturday or Sunday afternoon at WIN Stadium
  • Eels v Bulldogs annually round one at CommBank Stadium
  • Bulldogs v Dragons during multicultural round on a Sunday at Accor Stadium

While South Sydney and the Roosters struggle to agree on much given their long-standing rivalry, Rabbitohs chief executive Blake Solly has endorsed the Eora Round proposal.

“We are for anything that increases the profile and stature of the Indigenous Round,” Solly said.

“It’s a hugely important occasion for the game and particularly, our club, so we would want to be involved in anything that elevates the status of the game.”

The concept would require NRL consultation with broadcast partners Nine, the publisher of this masthead, and Fox Sports to ensure the terms and conditions of the television rights contract are met.

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