Despite recent poor crowds, Wests Tigers NRL chief Grant Mayer says the NRL club will continue playing games in Campbelltown for at least four more years.
Wests Tigers chief executive Grant Mayer has announced the NRL club will continue playing matches at Campbelltown Stadium for at least the next four years, despite the venue’s recent poor history of attracting crowds.
When only 6456 people turned up to see the Tigers beat North Queensland in April, Mayer declared this Saturday night’s clash with Brisbane would be “one last throw of the dice” for Campbelltown to come out and support their team.
The Tigers’ boss was concerned about how the joint venture could justify continuing to take matches to the ground if they were going to be doing so at a loss.
However, before the gates have even opened for Saturday night’s historic clash against the Broncos – which celebrates 15 seasons since the joint venture began – Mayer has moved to assure fans that Campbelltown, and the club’s other suburban heartland, Leichhardt Oval, are an integral part of future plans.
Mayer says a modest last-start crowd at Leichhardt proves the club needs to improve numbers across the board, not just at Campbelltown, and admits the Tigers need to do more to engage the local community in both regions.
“We’ve written a pretty lengthy four-year strategic plan and both venues are very much part of that,” Mayer told AAP.
“Both regions are very important to the club. It’s not just about football games – it’s about a sustained effort in the community on a regular basis and we’ve got to get better as a club in doing that.
“I put no pressure on anybody from Campbelltown. What I said to the Wests Tigers’ faithful is we need to show up. The challenge has been put forward … it’s about the Wests Tigers building sustainable crowds across the season – not just at the blockbuster events.”
Mayer is confident of a crowd in excess of 11,000 on Saturday, with pre-sales strong.
The Wests Tigers have worked overtime in promoting the match, which will honour the club’s first NRL outing in February 2000, when they drew 24-24 with ultimate premiers, the Broncos.
A big celebration is planned, with members of that 2000 team to be presented to the crowd.
Ten dollar tickets have been part of the Tigers’ promotion for the match, but Mayer says lowering prices to that extent is not sustainable throughout the season because it interferes with the overriding message of pushing club membership deals.
Tigers star Braith Anasta, who will captain the side in Robbie Farah’s absence, says Campbelltown is crucial to the success of the club.
“They keep producing a lot of great players in this area and they’re a vital part of the Wests Tigers’ joint venture so it’s important we play here and fans come out here and watch,” said Anasta.
Origin has robbed the Tigers of Robbie Farah and Aaron Woods, while Brisbane are without the likes of Justin Hodges and Matt Gillett.