FOOTBALL Mid North Coast chairman Mike Parsons believes the Newcastle Jets’ visit to Port Macquarie next month could benefit the entire local sporting community.
The Jets are set to play a friendly match against two Football Mid North Coast representative sides and Parsons said the overall benefits could be far-reaching.
“This visit is not about our game of football and it’s not just about the Newcastle Jets,” Parsons said.
“It’s about bringing teams of high calibre to Port Macquarie be it whatever sport they’re involved in, to lift the profile of our overall region.”
With Australia placing a bid for the Women’s World Cup and the possibility of again hosting a rugby league World Cup in future years, the Jets visit could be the start of regular national team visits.
“What a fantastic opportunity it would be for a visiting international team to base themselves in Port Macquarie and use this as a training venue and facility,” Parsons said.
“They could then fly to Sydney or Melbourne to participate in their matches.
“If we have a rugby league World Cup and a team like Scotland want to base themselves in Port Macquarie; it’s a story that’s potentially for the greater good.
“It’s certainly not a war with any particular sport.
“Wouldn’t it be a fantastic legacy to leave as a catalyst facilitator for bigger and better events which benefits the entire community.”
Parsons said Port Macquarie could learn from Coffs Harbour and how their local community supported sporting events.
“They give priority to whatever the higher level of sporting participation is,” he said.
“If it’s a national team they get preference over the local team and then there is a pecking order.
“It’s a plan that they have had in place for a couple of years now which brings $20 or $30million annually directly to the local community.”
Parsons said Coffs Harbour had benefited from hosting national sporting teams and fixtures over the last five years.
New South Wales held their State of Origin camps there for three years, while the town played host to the Jets match against Melbourne City last season.
“Our town offers more than the area of Coffs with our proximity to Sydney,” Parsons said.
Despite a junior rugby league tournament to be held three days prior to the Jets visit, Parsons was confident the playing surface would be in the best possible shape.
“All of the council staff have been nothing short of exemplary in their support of providing a good pitch,” Parsons said.
“I’ve got every bit of faith in their ability as groundskeepers to give us a field that will at the very worst be more than adequate.”