In the lead-up to the Wests Tigers match at Campbelltown all the signs were looking good.
The Tigers were in form and making a lot of noise, having beaten some of the better teams in the competition very convincingly. Marketing for the game was very good, and while I didn’t follow their postcode challenge because I couldn’t help but think how funny teams like the Warriors, Cowboys, Broncos and the line would find it, it was admirable they tried something different.
Even the terrible weather we have had in Sydney seemed to miss Campbelltown in some minor miracle. There couldn’t have been any more reasons for supporters of the Tigers in the area to get out and watch their team play.
Only 6,456 people bothered to turn up and watch the West Tigers beat the North Queensland Cowboys. I’m pretty sure there wasn’t much else to do in Campbelltown on the night!
I’ve always felt that the Wests Tigers long term future lies in the Campbelltown area. It is a fast growing area of Sydney that the club can own without any other competition from any other sporting teams.
With the Sydney market so crowded and the state government not looking to pour money into run down stadiums any more, the Wests Tigers would be able to make a great case for an upgrade to Campbelltown Stadium.
That won’t be happening though if the club can only draw 6,456 through the gates there.
When you consider that the Wests Tigers can be guaranteed a cash payment to play games at ANZ Stadium, and even though it would mostly be empty, draw far more than turned up to Campbelltown stadium overnight, at some point the Wests Tigers will have to make a very tough decision on where they play their future games.
For a club that has financial issues it is facing, they can not continue to keep playing in front of such small crowds just because it is the right thing to do. Even the Western Suburbs side of the joint venture at some point will make a move to push for less games in Campbelltown and more games at ANZ Stadium or even the rundown relic that is Leichhardt Oval.
If Wests Tigers supporters in the Campbelltown area want to continue to get NRL games played locally, they have to start getting out to games. Otherwise they’ll have a long trip to Homebush to see their local side play.
A well known Rugby League writer, League Freak has established a reputation among supporters of the game for his fearless commentary and unmatched insight. With a reach that spans both sides of the globe, League Freak has produced an independent network that allows him to distribute content to his many thousands of followers. He is the owner and main author of LeagueFreak.com
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