Heartland needs love



  • http://www.macarthuradvertiser.com.au/story/4971849/heartland-needs-love/

    Heartland needs love
    Jeff McGill

    6 Oct 2017, 3:56 p.m

    My dictionary describes a home ground as “the field a sports team usually plays and practices on”.

    Usually. Hmmm.

    Out of 12 Wests Tigers home games allocated for next season, just three of them will be played at Campbelltown Sports Stadium. That’s one less than in 2017.

    Mayor George Brticevic calls it “disappointing”

    I agree with George, but would add five extra words: We. Need. A. Local. Team.

    A team that truly regards Macarthur as home, not a place to visit every now again to try to keep the Rabbitohs at bay – who actually played a “home” trial game at Campbelltown earlier this year.

    This seems so sad, when we remember the excitement and pride of the 2005 grand final, and the days when local patriots like Steve Noyce of Ruse ran the club, with then-coach Tim Sheens publicly speaking of his desire of establishing a club HQ here. Seems so long ago.

    In more recent years, the club (under very different leadership) almost seemed to hate Campbelltown, snarling at us at every opportunity, failed to return this newspaper’s calls, and gave us the impression we should be grateful for any scraps we were thrown from the table. At the same time, possible HQ sites were mooted at Ryde, Liverpool, and basically anywhere but Macarthur.

    Now they whinge at us if if the crowds are small at Leumeah. To put it bluntly, it was Wests Tigers that dropped the ball, not us.

    One of the more controversial front page headlines I ran when I was editor, in 2010, was a screaming headline: “Easts Tigers”.

    That was the year Wests Tigers finished in the top four teams and therefore got rewarded with a home ground advantage in the semi-finals.

    A few other teams did too – such as the Penrith Panthers who chose to play at Penrith in front of cheering Penrith crowds. Penrith is a Penrith team and regards Penrith as its home ground. Easy.

    It was a bit harder for St George-Illawarra, a joint venture, but it went with Jubilee Oval, in saints territory.

    So, did Wests Tigers toss a coin between Leumeah or Leichhardt? Neither. It’s, um, “home game” was held in Sydney’s eastern suburbs at the SFS (Allianz), the home ground of, believe it or not, our opponents that day! The Roosters’ fans couldn’t believe their luck, packed the ground, and cheered on as their team won.

    Dunno about you, but that decision marked a watershed with me, and perhaps sums up the Wests Tigers identity crisis: its fan base in Campbelltown, Camden and Wollondilly (a growth centre demographic most clubs would kill for) were told their “home ground” was a soulless stadium on the far side of Sydney next to Paddington and Randwick.

    That’s not a home ground, that’s a financial deal.

    Re the slap on the wrist at Leumeah next season, Wests Tigers said the game taken away would be played outside Sydney, as it is important to “develop the game across multiple locations.”

    I agree. But that game should be coming from ANZ stadium, not the suburban grounds. It’s no good developing fan bases in Dubbo, or interstate, if it is losing its own unloved heartland.

    The Macarthur area is capable of great love, it just has to feel loved back.

    This is up to Wests Tigers to fix, not us. Here’s a hint: it doesn’t take more “visits” to Macarthur, it takes being part of Macarthur.

    We need a local team.
    It’s our turn to be the club HQ

    To understand why Macarthur feels so unloved by Wests Tigers recently, you perhaps have to cast your mind back to 1967.

    Campbelltown had one of the best lower grade teams in NSW, and was a proposed growth centre for young families. A perfect fit as one of two new outer Sydney teams to join the first grade comp.

    But alas, no. Penrith and Cronulla were chosen instead. We would have to wait until the next intake. When it came, in 1982, we were screwed again as they leapfrogged us to invite Illawarra and Canberra teams instead.

    The only way we got a look in, in 1987, was embracing a fobbed off inner city club, Western Suburbs Magpies. A humbling scenario, but Campbelltown did it with pride and gusto.

    I was a young reporter at early games at Orana Park and recall the local passion building, as we eventually cheered on homegrown talents such as Skando and the McGuinesses.

    Thanks to Rupert Murdoch, Campbelltown’s team looked set to vanish again, in the wake of the Super League war, until we merged with the Balmain Tigers in 1999.

    I totally get that a joint venture has to be shared. But in the almost two decades since it kicked off, Balmain and Ashfield/Concord have been at the epicentre of things and even local homegrown players have to move in there to train.

    When is it Macarthur’s turn at being the HQ?

    –------------------



  • I understand where McGill is coming from, being from an era where your team chose you, you followed the local team…it was tribal.
    I understand the frustrations.



  • Why does Macarthur need a local team more than others, and why WT? Does the author not realise a large percentage of Tigers fans aren’t from there? You could make a good argument about being based there or in the Inner West, there are pros and cons for both.

    With articles like this and sensationalist headlines such as ‘Easts Tigers’ I can understand the club not returning his calls.



  • @:

    and why WT?

    Really?


  • ForumSupporter

    So, did Wests Tigers toss a coin between Leumeah or Leichhardt? Neither. It’s, um, “home game” was held in Sydney’s eastern suburbs at the SFS (Allianz), the home ground of, believe it or not, our opponents that day! The Roosters’ fans couldn’t believe their luck, packed the ground, and cheered on as their team won.

    Dear Mr McGill…

    Was at that game and can safely assure you that Wests Tigers Fans outnumbered Rorter supporters at ‘their home ground that day’…

    Still the most epic finals game ever despite the result…

    I don’t mind much where we play as long as we start winning enough games to achieve those feats again…

    1 home ground that we as Wests Tigers could make a place opposition teams don’t want to come to would be my preference…Nomads no longer…



  • The Dragons play out of their 2 heartlands and seem to balance it well. Don’t see any complaints from their supporters about being nomads.



  • @:

    So, did Wests Tigers toss a coin between Leumeah or Leichhardt? Neither. It’s, um, “home game” was held in Sydney’s eastern suburbs at the SFS (Allianz), the home ground of, believe it or not, our opponents that day! The Roosters’ fans couldn’t believe their luck, packed the ground, and cheered on as their team won.

    Dear Mr McGill…

    Was at that game and can safely assure you that Wests Tigers Fans outnumbered Rorter supporters at ‘their home ground that day’…

    Still the most epic finals game ever despite the result…

    I don’t mind much where we play as long as we start winning enough games to achieve those feats again…

    1 home ground that we as Wests Tigers could make a place opposition teams don’t want to come to would be my preference…Nomads no longer…

    Epic?
    Heartbreaking more like it…losses arent epic.
    We wouldve won if it were at Cambo



  • @:

    @:

    and why WT?

    Really?

    That’s the part you pick out in isolation? Surely you get the point of what I was saying….



  • @:

    @:

    @:

    and why WT?

    Really?

    That’s the part you pick out in isolation? Surely you get the point of what I was saying….

    You seemed to by mythed as to why one of our heartlands feels put out by their exclusion from the club outside 4 games a year, then asked why it should be our club who has a presence there. Because Ctown is our area, that"s why.



  • I’m sure Sabre would be singing a different tune if this was about LO, or his location TigerTown



  • I don’t get articles like that and despite the fact that I’d be happy with games never being played at Leichhardt oval again it makes me think the club should shun the Campbelltown area.

    The Tigers need supporters to support them wherever they play. If local papers go against their local team maybe they don’t deserve a team.



  • The point of the article Earl is we’re not the local team anymore… We’re occasional visitors
    Being there (& LO for that matter) for 1/8th of the season is as weak as pee



  • LOL WT need campbo more than campbo needs WT.

    Parra, Bankstown, ANZ, Penrith etc arent too far at all.

    you gotta kiss as mane asses as you can but it’s disappointing that after 18 years, McArhtur still isn’t our area 100% despite pretty much no competition so far at all.



  • The fact Souths played a trial at Cambo at the start of the year was a joke. There would have been a march down Norton St, pitchforks in hand if they had played a trial at Leichhardt.



  • Its niave to think the NRL fans in MacArthur are not already aligned to existing teams and that moving WTs out there would suddenly make them change alleigance.
    If it was a new team whole different situation.
    Campbelltown is a long way from the innercity and if all focus became on promtoing there, the risk is allienating existing fans that they already have - which is plenty.
    We have faced many challenges and seem to be on track all we need is to produce on the field why complicate and risk huge investment in something that may not pay off?
    Our supporters have already made enough compromises imo.


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