One good reason to attend Wests Tigers v Cowboys match at Campbelltown

I can think of any number of reasons why we Campbelltown ( and Camden and Wollondilly) residents should stay away from this Saturday night's NRL clash between the Wests Tigers and the North Queensland Cowboys at Campbelltown Sports Stadium.

But you know what: none of these reasons should make a difference to a true fan. They have all been said and done before (the club is based at Concord/is more Balmain than Campbelltown/only four miserable games here/etc etc).

I reckon there is a  compelling reason why we should pack the old Orana Park by the time Robbie Farah and the rest of the boys start dishing up a rugby lesson to the marauders from the deep north this Saturday night.

Just imagine that this Saturday night more than 20,000 fans go through the turnstiles, and on Saturday, May 24 the same number turn up for the match against another Queensland team, the Brisbane Broncos. And since all good things come in threes, this is all repeated for the third Saturday night blockbuster scheduled at Campbelltown, against the Canberra Raiders on June 28. 

(No date has been set yet for a fourth match scheduled for Campbelltown in round 21, but again let's dare to dream that more than 20,000 pack in at Campbelltown.)

I am not saying that the club will respond by announcing it is moving all its operations to Macarthur. But such figures will be seen as a signal that we are ready to fully embrace the Wests Tigers as our very own NRL club.

So when the new independent board begins to map out long term planning aimed at securing the future of the club, such attendance figures will surely put Campbelltown and Macarthur right in the middle of the spotlight. In other words, they will achieve the opposite of what poor attendances have done in recent years, but that's in the past - let's just keep our eye on the future.

I've said it before that the long term future of Wests Tigers must be here in Macarthur. Even Balmain supporters would agree that the inner city just means being in a crowded sponsors marketplace fighting for every dollar and is unsustainable in the long term.

In contrast, here in Macarthur, and encompassing the great south west, the club can have it all to itself.

It's a no brainer.

I have been arguing for this since the first press conference held by the joint venture in late in 1999.

It was in Balmain Leagues Club and myself and then Macarthur Advertiser sports editor Wayne Cousins were the only local media representatives.

The new bosses of the joint venture were all there, too, including the chief executive officer Marty Bullock, Jim Marsden and the first coach, Balmain legend Wayne Pearce.

I asked the last question at the presser: will Wayne (Cousins) and I have to come to Balmain every time there's an announcement or a press conference?

I don't remember the details of the reply, but it was that they would share the limelight, which they did for a little while.

But for many years now it's been all at Concord.

But the point I want to make is that if we really want the Tigers to make our home their home we have to let them know how we feel. That we love them and we would love them to move in with us.

So, that's it. Our strategy is simple: pack Campbelltown Stadium for this season's four matches and see what happens from there. The rest will be up to the board and the club exceutives.

See you at the game.


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