The crowd at this year’s Anzac Test. Canberra is keen to host the Test again in 2015. Photo: Graham TidyThe Australian Kangaroos played in Canberra to celebrate the city’s centenary, now the ACT government is bidding to bring a rugby league Test match back to the capital to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Anzac landing at Gallipoli.

ACT Sports Minister Andrew Barr said the government had commenced talks with the NRL about Canberra’s interest in hosting the Anzac Day rugby league Test between Australia and New Zealand in 2015, the 100th anniversary of Gallipoli.

The ACT government will release a report on Wednesday and is buoyed by the strong support for this year’s Test on April 19, which attracted more than 25,000.

The report is timely, with NRL chief executive David Smith visiting Canberra on Wednesday.

”We’re looking at the possibility of bringing the match back to Canberra, and the next logical opportunity is 2015 and the Gallipoli centenary,” Barr said.

”You could certainly see a package being put together that involves events at the War Memorial and the match being played here.

”We’ve raised it with the NRL and we’ll continue those discussions in the near future.”

The research report conducted by Repucom states:

■ the Test match drew 2600 overnight visitors and 1534 interstate day visitors to the ACT;

■ the match generated $1.8 million of direct expenditure into the ACT economy;

■ 1.65 million people watched the game on television, including 1.39 million in Australia.

NRL commercial and marketing general manager Paul Kind said Canberra’s plans to build an indoor stadium by 2020 would further boost opportunities for the capital to host blockbuster matches.

But Kind said Canberra had already proved it could host Test matches in the near future.

”Everything we saw in April suggests Canberra will absolutely be a location for the future,” Kind said. ”We want to be supportive of that [indoor stadium] because we think it’s the right decision, and we want to support the government in any way we can on that.

”One of the ways we can do that is showcasing the interest Canberra’s community has in major events, and continuing to consider it as a venue until the stadium’s built.”

The NRL has awarded Test matches to regional venues with great success in recent years, with Townsville and Newcastle also attracting sellout crowds.

”The communities that don’t have as much access to elite footy, we have the opportunity to get people more excited and we saw that in Canberra,” Kind said.

”I’d be confident we can play there again and I’m sure the crowd would respond again.

”It’s about making sure everyone stays motivated to attend.”

Barr said the government had not given up hope Canberra could host a Socceroos match later this year.

The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Hangzhou Night Net.

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