I thought I’d introduce a new topic, one to get the attention off the recruitment circus for a moment…
I’ve always wondered why the Balmain Tigers didn’t merge with the North Sydney Bears and how we would have gone if this was the marriage settled on. Before, I go any further, I want to apologize to all the slighted Wests supporters out there who might be offended by this discussion. Yes, I am a diehard Balmain Tigers supporter but I also have a genuine soft spot for the Magpies, especially after the pillaging they copped from Manly. I grew up in Avalon and went to Brookvale numerous times, only to quietly root for every other team that played the dreaded Silvertails!
The irony is that North Sydney tried to merger with Manly after a long history of despising each other but, surely, a union between the Tigers and the Bears would have made the most sense as they are two foundation clubs, with adjoining borders. As it stands now, the real boundaries between Wests and Balmain don’t join and there is a huge territory between the Balmain district and the southwest of Sydney. Actually, Canterbury is in between. How would Canterbury, Wests, Balmain and North Sydney be going now if the mergers had been Canterbury/ Wests and Balmain/ Norths? I think I know some of the answers. Canterbury have always been financially strong and therefore didn’t need to merge, whereas Wests and Balmain were both struggling and may have been given an ultimatum by the League.
To be honest, I struggle with the merger between St.George and Illawarra with Cronulla sitting right in the middle but, then again, the tribal element that comes with inter district battles is probably a thing of the past. The bottom line, a marriage between Balmain and Norths would have made a lot more sense!