Facility funding to richer clubs while Wests Tigers, Manly miss out

The Australian
12:00AM July 27, 2017
Brent Read Senior sports writer

Plans by Wests Tigers and Manly to build state-of-the-art training facilities are on a knife edge as the state government delays an ­announcement on centres of ­excellence funding to deal with ­issues in their proposals.

It is understood the Tigers and Sea Eagles were ranked in the bottom two positions among the NRL clubs who applied for a slice of the $40 million set aside by the state government as part of its stadiums strategy.

The Tigers submitted a $57m plan in March to build a centre of excellence at their current base at Concord Oval — chief executive Justin Pascoe described the development, which also incorporated a multipurpose community facility, as being vital for the evolution of the organisation to remain competitive in the NRL.

The Tigers were hoping to ­receive about $10m from the state government, but it is understood there were concerns with their proposal on at least two fronts — one surrounded finance and the other around the ambitious ­nature of the plan.

The Sea Eagles wanted to build a more modest $20m facility at their base on Sydney’s northern beaches. They were also aiming to secure about $10m of state government money, but it is believed there are also concerns surrounding their side of the financing.

Sources told The Australian there were “complexities” with both submissions. Both clubs, along with the others who applied for a share of the centre of excellence fund, were vetted by a six-person panel that included representatives from government, the NRL and the clubs.

They ranked each of the bids and then passed on their advice to the state government — Sports Minister Stuart Ayres is ultimately charged with dictating how the $40m will be distributed.

It is understood Newcastle, South Sydney and the Sydney Roosters were the three top-ranked clubs. Wests Group, which is buying the Knights licence from the NRL, has committed $10m ­towards a centre of excellence in the shadows of their home ground in Newcastle. That figure is expected to be matched by the state government.

South Sydney have been working on a new $32m facility at Maroubra in Sydney’s eastern suburbs that would be funded through a combination of their own funds, Randwick Council, the federal government and the state government’s centre of ­excellence pot.

The Roosters have also put forward a proposal that would result in them moving from their current home adjacent to Allianz Stadium to a new facility. If those three clubs receive the funds they are pursuing, it would leave ­precious little to be shared among the other clubs who have pitched up to the state government.

It is believed Canterbury, St George Illawarra and the Cronulla Sharks have applied for a share of the state funding. Ayres said the government was still assessing the respective bids and expected to have a decision within weeks. “The NSW government is assessing submissions for the NSW Rugby League Centres of Excellence program, with successful projects expected to be announced in coming weeks,” he said. The $40m package was set aside by the state government last year as part of the $1.6 billion ­investment in Sydney stadiums. The state government is yet to ­announce its final plan for the ­distribution of that money as it works out what proportion of money to invest in ANZ Stadium as opposed to Allianz Stadium.

The initial plan was to turn ANZ Stadium into a modern rectangular venue that would continue to host rugby league as its major tenant. South Sydney and Canterbury already play out of the venue while Wests Tigers and St Georgie Illawarra have deals with the venue.

The rest of the money would be used to refurbish Allianz Stadium. Lobbying has continued for more money to be directed to the Moore Park precinct at the expense of the ANZ Stadium redevelopment. The result has been a delay in finalising the future for both grounds, which has forced the NRL to delay a decision on whether it will take future grand finals to Brisbane or elsewhere.

Didn’t we used to use all the facilities at Homebush? I seem to remember in Sheens time the Tigers office and training facilities were at Homebush. Maybe I’m way off here??

If we have a $57ml COE plan and miss out on the $10ml from the govt, surely we can still go ahead with a $47mil COE.
Or will the club just continue to kick stones down the street.

That is pretty disgraceful from the government and NRL . The rich get richer and the poor get poorer! The clubs that have nothing have larger and more ambitious plans to try and catch up. Formal complaints would need to be lodged.
Until we get this COE we will be a basketcase. Clubs which already have some of the best facilities in the comp can get even better while there’s no support to those trying to build themselves up from scratch?

There is obviously not much funding from the club or stack holders looks like Pascoe is just pulling rabbits out of his hat ,looking like just another blow hard CEO in the conga line the clubs has had over the years.

Why do the rorters need a COE? Every player they have are already developed in other areas and than they just use their endless salary cap rorting money pit to buy them

sadly this COE never even sounded like getting off the ground to me.

I hope the state govt step up and just increase the pot or pull us up the ranks. I would be gobsmacked if they didn’t help the Tigers get it up given it will be a community facility sitting right in the middle of a major urban redevelopment precinct on Parramatta Rd.


If we have a $57ml COE plan and miss out on the $10ml from the govt, surely we can still go ahead with a $47mil COE.
Or will the club just continue to kick stones down the street.

Some of the funding might be from private investors expecting a rate of return. That rate could change if there is no equity from the state govt.


Didn’t we used to use all the facilities at Homebush? I seem to remember in Sheens time the Tigers office and training facilities were at Homebush. Maybe I’m way off here??

Admin used to be in a building at Underwood Rd in homebush… They trained at Concord back then I think as well as Cambo and LO.

Champagne tastes on a beer budget = Wests Tigers

Can’t say I’m surprised.
These pipe dreams were never going to come to life.
I mentioned a couple months ago that hinging on the result of this centre of excellence in the inner west puts our future in Sydney on a slippery scale.
Leaving it all in the governments hands I’m not surprised they’ve decided our fate.
Seams like the clubs and government want to move us to the south west corridor or out of Sydney completely.
I’m disappointed to say the least that our management / board is so naive to think that the government would hand us money just because we are a basket case and we are desperate.
It’s simple West or Bust!
Either Cambelltown or Perth.

Roosters huh? You can only shake your head and hope it’s based up on the Central Coast at least. I’m guessing nobody gets anything in the end.

Just get a Wests fan in as PM. Pretty sure Manly and St. George saw funding under Toned Abs and Johnny Howard.

Must say that I do recall, when, during one of the Coach/CEO Q&A sessions …. Pascoe talked up this proposal , and Ivan jus gave him this “really?” look.
Found it amusing at the time.

All animals are equal but some animals are more equal than others.

Why can’t uncle harry build us a facitlty and write it off as a bad debt. No one would ever question that we would never be able to fund it!

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