Why Not the Balmain Bears?

North Sydney oval was magic, the Bears can thank Darren Albert for running down Matt Seers at the SFS, that was there chance for grand final glory

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True story - back when the West/ Cant merger was first being sounded out. I borrowed a bunch of fan stuff from a Western Bulldogs (Footscray) fan that I knew. Took it to Campbeltown for a game, and told eveyone I had got my hands on some test supporters gear put together by the marketing team at Canterbury.

Nobody questioned what the colour red was doing on there?

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Nobody questioned what the colour red was doing on there?

LOL no - as I explained to them it was test merchandising, and the marketing people wanted to get the black out of the colours, and they were going to test reaction with it.

I only took a scarf and a hat. Anything like a jersey or shorts, the gig would have been up pretty quick lol

The reason why there was no Balmain/Bears joint venture, at the time both North and Manly met the criteria and expected to be stand alone ventures, Balmain and Wests feared that they would not make the criteria and took the NRL’s Joint Venture money to avoid being distant memories.
The Super League war ruined many a loyal club as the ARL’s survival packages fell well short of the funding from Rupert’s pot of gold, thus Manly and Norths were broke at the end and had to take the same direction of Balmain and Wests and accept the war reparations, only in the end Norths were stabbed in the back.

Also true is that Balmain would have scraped into the “new NRL” criteria as a standalone side whereas both North Sydney and Western Suburbs would have perished, had the mergers not progressed.

Can’t forget personally being young and sitting at North Sydney Oval, watching the Tigers receive a 64-12 flogging, and thinking, well, nothing that can be expressed on this forum, and not only because of the result but mainly because of how we shouldn’t come so far to lose so badly.

In sum, the marriage between Balmain and Wests is pretty honest, in that when Wests were done Balmain came through with a lifeline, and now that Balmain seem finished Western Suburbs have a lifeline to offer.

What else can a fair relationship rely on, if not for the timely insertion of the correct parts.

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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!

If roles were reversed and we were called Wests Magpies as a combined entity …… wouldn’t you want some recognition in this entity of your Balmain heritage.
What the hell habe The Bears have to do with it?
Really!

At the time we (that is Balmain) had two choices, merge with Parra who basically wanted a take over or merge with Wests. Norths were never in the picture at that stage.

You could also say why didn’t we merge with Newtown. Anyway the Wests and Balmain merger was a great choice and although success has been a little light on we have a great brand name and as the years roll on more people are thinking of us as the Weststigers and not a merged club between to great old clubs.

If we could turn the clock back, I would not change a thing in my choice of a club to merge with. Yes in a ideal world it would have been great to have been able to fight on as single identities but that was never ever a possibility.

As a Wests Magpies tragic …… my only wish now is that the Balmain side of the merger gets its finances in order and the primary club starts trading profitabely again … so that we can truly have solid financial base and become the NRL powerhouse of our western Sydney footprint.

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I suppose Bulldogs have Regents Park etc but Maggies should have Fairfield etc.

Having been a Regents Park player many years ago I can tell you it is part of the Canterbury District and goes from there south Revesby and then east to Canterbury. I wanted to always play for Berala because of that but the Rego jersey was identical to the Magpies, black jersey and white V. Berala and Lidcombe was the start of the Magpies district and it went East to Ashfield.

I guess Enfield Federals werent formed then as they had the Magpies jumper too

I lived in Summer Hill and Ashfield Boys was my school in mid to late 60s. Ruby Union was the winter sport and rugby league on weekends. Enfield Feds were the power juniors comp team in those days.

It’s also worth remembering that the Balmain Rugby Club is one of the fastest-growing clubs in that game worldwide, so perhaps aside from the pokie revenue that Bob Carr freed, and the lack of such that Ben Elias contrived to help remove from the Balmain Tigers, that the region has yet something to offer

the true home of the magpies is inner west. if fivedock doesn’t sit next to balmain territory they must have moved it since i moved from sydney. wests despise canterbury so would never work. might as well have merged with the silvertails.

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I and my family will only ever support the Tigers in Black and Orange.

I dont care about Balmain / Campbeltown, Nth Sydney etc

What a great post….

How many of us are from Campbeltown or Balmain these days.

We should be a national brand and not be restricted to geography

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I and my family will only ever support the Tigers in Black and Orange.

I dont care about Balmain / Campbeltown, Nth Sydney etc

What a great post….

How many of us are from Campbeltown or Balmain these days.

We should be a national brand and not be restricted to geography

😆 I’ll give you a wrap for giving yourself a wrap…

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I wish the Bears were still around. Tragedy that the game has lost North Sydney Oval.

I agree, i’m an old tigers supporter but lived in north Sydney in my adult life and loved games out there.

My wife was from Glebe and always went Tigers.
I was born in Campbelltown, decided to go for Magpies probably because of that. (my brother was a doggies supporter and Magpies played the Dogs the first Rugby league game I went too on Terry Lamb Oval).

So WT for me.

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