THERE'S still more planning required by the National Rugby League (NRL) before tickets for May's clash between the Penrith Panthers and Manly Sea Eagles can go on sale.
The two Sydney-based clubs are to set to play each other at Carrington Park on Saturday, May 1, with the bathurstnrl.com.au website indicating tickets were meant to go on sale in mid-February.
However, Bathurst mayor Bobby Bourke said the NRL will have to establish several coronavirus protocols before tickets can go on sale.
He also said he's not sure whether Carrington Park will have a social-distanced reduced capacity, as he's not expecting a decision until a few weeks out from the match.
"We probably won't know too much until two weeks out until the event," he said.
Even though the first round kicks off in under a month, tickets are yet to go on sale for any NRL match this season, except for the Magic Round in Brisbane on May 14-16, where Lang Park will host eight matches.
Cr Bourke said the NRL game for Bathurst, should it go ahead, will make for a great occasion for the city, with the Royal Bathurst Show to be held on the same weekend.
"We're looking forward to the Manly game against the Panthers. It should be a great weekend and if the football can work in with our local show, it'll be even better," he said.
"They've [the show] had a tough year with COVID-19 and if we can get a crowd there after the footy, it could be one of the best shows we've had."
Cr Bourke said the NRL match provides a healthy financial boost to the city.
"All the NRL games are big, from when we had Cronulla and Canberra here. Every game is big because it always brings an influx of people to town," he said.
"They do leave their money here and sometimes they're here for two or three days. It doesn't matter what, we need to keep trying to put on these very high-level events to keep business alive."
Bathurst will be one of five NSW regional centres to host NRL matches this season, with Mudgee to host Manly versus Gold Coast at Glen Willow on April 17, Wagga to host Canberra versus Newcastle on May 8 at McDonald's Park, Dubbo to host South Sydney versus Penrith on May 23 at Apex Oval and Tamworth to host Wests Tigers versus Cronulla on August 21 at Scully Park.