St George Illawarra are all for the NRL’s push into larger stadiums, but they won’t help more than they already are.
The governing body has just one week to commit 65 games to major stadiums before the NSW government approves a $1.6 billion funding plan for Moore Park and ANZ Stadium.
The Dragons, who are bankrolled by the NRL, support the shift into bigger venues but are hesitant to reconfigure their own strategy.
“We believe our strategy fits the objectives of government and any further reduction in games at the government-owned community venues in Kogarah and Wollongong would threaten their viability,” the club said.
The Dragons believe they’re already contributing with the the eight games they’re playing at the government-owned WIN Jubilee Oval in Kogarah, as well as Wollongong’s WIN Stadium.
Their remaining four games are split for blockbuster clashes at Allianz Stadium, ANZ Stadium in Homebush, and the Sydney Cricket Ground – a plan that was designed three years ago.
“The Dragons recognised a few years ago that government investment in the larger stadia was to be the way of the future for Sydney and rugby league,” the club statement read.
“And the implementation of the ‘right game right venue’ strategy in 2013-14 fitted this as well.
“We believe the Dragons have already made a significant commitment to such a strategy by relocating four home games against Sydney clubs.”
Coach Paul McGregor was hesitant to buy into the debate but said the club was already helping out.
“At the moment we’re already doing the right thing and helping them out at the moment with our four games away from both stadiums,” he said.
“I enjoy the atmosphere at Kogarah and WIN. I enjoy the atmosphere at a packed stadium in the city, too.
“For me, it’s what’s best. And at the moment, the best thing is we’ve done the right thing with the right game and right stadium strategy and that’s worked well.”