ALBURY has been left off a list of six NSW regional centres to host National Rugby League matches for premiership points next year.
The successful centres to host matches announced on Wednesday were Wagga, Bathurst, Tamworth, Dubbo, Mudgee and Coffs Harbour with Wagga to play host to a match featuring Canberra Raiders.
The regional game venues were revealed by NSW Deputy Premier John Barilaro and ARL Commission chairman Peter V'Landys.
Abury Thunder official Mike Eden was stunned the state government had overlooked Albury given the economic pain inflicted on the city due to the 137-day border closure which ended this week.
He hoped council's decision earlier this year to prevent Melbourne Storm from training at one of its venues wasn't behind the decision.
"I can't see why we were not included," Mr Eden said.
"As an economy we were losing $1 million a day during the border closure.
"It is a disgrace and (member for Albury) Justin Clancy should have been standing alongside Barilaro announcing Albury would host one of these games.
"It would have been great recognition for the tough times we've been through."
He said the Melbourne Storm snub "wouldn't have helped"
"Where the real disappointment lies is with the state government and them closing the border in a heart beat," he said.
The Border Mail understands Albury Council didn't apply for one of the matches due to the $19.6 Lavington Sportsground redevelopment not being completed when the bidding process started.
The upgraded Lavington venue will be officially opened on Friday with council still to lock-in a maiden marquee event.
Mr Barilaro said the centres chosen would enjoy a great boost after a tough year dominated by COVID.
"There's nothing quite like a game of footy to boost morale and nobody deserves it more than our resilient communities in the regions," he said.
"Many professional NRL players come from regional towns and I'm sure they, and the entire state of NSW, thank the NRL for making this a reality.
"Sydney might be the home of NRL, but the regions are where it was born."