The Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs and South Sydney Rabbitohs have announced that the Clubs will play an annual pre-season match, switching between the Return to Redfern match at the Suttons South Sydney High Performance Centre at Redfern Oval and the Back to Belmore match at Belmore Sports Ground each year.


The Clubs have entered into a match-rotation and gate-sharing agreement, providing both Clubs with the guarantee of a quality pre-season match on an annual basis in Sydney, starting in 2014.


Considering the Rabbitohs will host the Good Friday clash 2014, Belmore Sports Ground will be the venue for the first annual pre-season match between the two Clubs.


In addition, each year there will be a curtain-raider match played, plus there will be plenty of entertainment for everyone in the family, giving Members and supporters from both Clubs a great family friendly day out at the footy in the lead up to each new season at two of Sydneys traditional grounds.


Ticketed Members from both Clubs will be given priority access to grandstand seating, providing another great reason to renew or join as a Ticketed Member of the Rabbitohs or Bulldogs when Membership packages go on sale for season 2014.


Rabbitohs CEO Shane Richardson says this is an exciting development for both Clubs.


By locking this in each year, as we do with the Dragons and the annual Charity Shield match, we are guaranteed of playing quality opposition at a traditional home ground in Sydney each season, Mr Richardson said.


The Return to Redfern matches we have played in the past have been highly successful family friendly events, as have the Back to Belmore games for the Bulldogs, so we thought why not combine the two, ensure our football teams have quality lead up games to the start of the season in a venue that is easily accessible for a majority of both sets of Members each year.


It gives us a chance to the lead the way in the NRL on a gate sharing basis which we believe will be a big driver of match attendances as part of the games stadium strategy in the future.


These two games will make up our pre-season fixtures for the 2014 season, and its a win-win for everyone. Were excited to have our yearly pre-season matches against the Bulldogs and Dragons locked into our calendar.


Bulldogs Chief Executive Raelene Castle believes this is the beginning of what will be a strong relationship.


Both the Bulldogs and the Rabbitohs understand the importance of their pre-season and to know that we will be matching up against quality opposition each year will give the football program at both Clubs the ideal preparation, Castle said. This will also allow Members to gain priority access to a match which is always a key Membership benefit.


This will be the third annual Back to Belmore fixture and this not only give the Bulldogs Members and fans the chance to watch rugby league at the spiritual home of the Bulldogs but it will also give the chance for Rabbitohs members and fans to head to a suburban ground that Im sure many of them travelled to as young supporters.


As with Belmore, Redfern Oval holds a special place in the heart of many Rabbitohs fans so this is a great opportunity for both Clubs to form a strong relationship with the view of extending the deal into the regular season matches.