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NRL chief executive Todd Greenberg has promised regional NSW and Queensland more premiership matches next year - but he's just not sure how many.
The governing body has come under fire this week after allowing Canterbury to make all their players unavailable for the final NSW City Country match next weekend.
While the shock appointment of Paul Gallen as City captain gave the annual fixture a boost on Wednesday, Greenberg revealed talks are under way to take NRL games to regional centres.
"I'd like to think that we can play several games. It always comes down to venues, availability, and clearly commercial terms for clubs," Greenberg said.
"But I think there's strong appetite for that to happen - those talks are under way.
"There's some good venues being built in regional NSW, places like Tamworth, Wagga, Dubbo are all areas that have good facilities to host NRL premiership games.
"We're very conscious that we can make that happen in 2018 and beyond to continue that commitment to regional NSW for bush footy."
Greenberg pointed to Penrith's commitment to hosting games in Bathurst, which was extended by a further 10 years last week.
The former Canterbury CEO was adamant more clubs would follow suit, particularly in towns with strong facilities.
"What we've said for a long time is this game (City Country) puts a lot of pressure on the schedule. That's why this'll be the last time it's played," he said.
"But there'll be more games in regional NSW, not less. What I mean by that is we're actively working with clubs now to take games to the bush in the premiership.
"Penrith have been doing it for a while in places like Bathurst ... we'll see some games in regional Queensland. But we are very conscious of growing the footprint of regional football."
Country representative Damien Cook believes crowds would flock to the games.
"I think it'll work out really well. All the City Country games, there's always a big crowd there," he said.
"With this game not in the schedule next year, I think it's a great idea."