Mudgee will welcome bad boy Arrow
QUEENSLAND enforcer Jai Arrow may be public enemy No.1 in NSW right now, but the bustling bush town of Mudgee is ready to welcome the Maroons bopper for what will likely be his South Sydney debut.
While the threat of an NRL bubble being in place for next season remains, Mudgee mayor Des Kennedy has confirmed the town is ready to embrace rugby league’s newest bad boy when it hosts the 2021 Charity Shield on February 27.
Already, Glen Willow Stadium is permitted to accommodate 5000 fans — or 50 per cent of its capacity
— for the annual clash between the Bunnies and St George Illawarra.
Kennedy is hopeful however that the figure will have increased to 75 per cent, or even 100 per cent, by the end of summer.
Better, he cannot wait for the debut of Arrow, who has signed on with the Bunnies for a $3.2 million, four-year deal.
While much of the state has criticised his treatment of concussed NSW Origin skipper James Tedesco at Suncorp Stadium on Wednesday night — and the subsequent $550 fine — Kennedy revealed he had been given a different perspective on the incident from inside his Mudgee pub, the Oriental Hotel.
“I actually watched the game with Richo,” he said of former Bunnies general manager of football Shane Richardson, the man who worked overtime to secure Arrow’s switch from Gold Coast Titans. “He was in town with a few friends so watched Origin III at the pub. As soon as it happened, I asked ‘is that typical of Jai Arrow?’.
“And he actually stressed that it was right out of character for him.
“Said Jai is a champion fella from a great family. Obviously it was a spur-of-the-moment thing and we can’t wait to have him and all the other players out here.”
While Arrow immediately looked to help Tedesco once he realised the severity of the situation, the images of him lifting a concussed Tedesco off the ground and then dumping him back down drew anger across NSW.
Tickets for the Charity Shield will go on sale next month.