DISILLUSIONED Wollongong rugby league fans could be in line for a short-term trade-off, with WIN Stadium gunning for rights to bring international rugby league back to the Illawarra.
Offered an olive branch in the wake of the Dragons cutting their presence at the stadium from six games to four next year, the Mercury understands WIN Stadium is in the frame to host the Anzac Test.
The match would provide a huge coup for the revamped arena, which now has a little more wiggle room to chase marquee events throughout winter.
Canberra hosted this year's edition on the back of its centenary of sport celebrations, while Newcastle and the Gold Coast are other regional centres to have been the backdrop for the mid-season Test since 2004.
It's believed under the terms of the agreement signed by the NRL and St George Illawarra, where the Dragons will host matches away from their spiritual homes, WIN Stadium will be offered the opportunity to showcase other rugby league fixtures.
The Anzac Test could be one of those, while Penrith's Centrebet Stadium hosted the under-20s State Of Origin match and the Samoa-Tonga Test on the same night this year.
Dubbo has already sewn up hosting rights for next year's annual City-Country clash.
Venues NSW yesterday expressed its dismay at St George Illawarra shaving their allocation of games from 2014 onwards. Only 12 months ago the Dragons signed a five-year agreement to remain a fixture at WIN Stadium, with an option for a further five years.
But Venues NSW hinted it would engage in talks with the NRL to bring other rugby league events to town.
"Venues NSW is disappointed with the St George Illawarra Dragons' decision to reduce the number of games played at WIN Stadium," the organisation said in a statement.
"Only 12 months ago, the Dragons made a commitment to play six games [each year] at WIN Stadium.
"With a recently redeveloped grandstand and patron facilities, WIN Stadium is a first-class sporting venue which now meets the exacting requirements of all major codes.
"Venues NSW looks forward to talking with the NRL about its Right Game, Right Venue strategy and discussing games which the NRL can bring to the stadium as part of its strategy."
The Dragons are also considering bringing a trial match back to Wollongong after embarking on a pre-season adventure to Cairns last year before the Charity Shield stoush with the Rabbitohs.
WIN Stadium has already proved adept at hosting international events, with football's Matildas returning to take on China on Sunday.