BY SCOTT DILLON
Former Australian halfback Brett Kimmorley believes Wests Tigers and St George Illawarra Dragons should be playing all their home games at Campbelltown and Wollongong respectively to ensure their survival.
Much has been made recently of smaller than expected crowds at NRL games in Sydney but Kimmorley believes clubs like Wests Tigers and the Dragons have an opportunity to become “tribal” local organisations.
“Wests Tigers need to be moved to Campbelltown on a fulltime basis, looking after that vast population base and becoming a permanent part of that community,” Kimmorley wrote for ESPN.com.au.
“The Dragons should be moved to Wollongong permanently to become the South Coast Dragons, taking care of that vast rugby league loving area.”
Kimmorley, who played for the Melbourne Storm in their early years, believes filling suburban venues was more important than playing games at places like ANZ Stadium.
“If we can attract up to 15,000 people to the local venues, it would ensure a great atmosphere and the game would become a community event again. Every kid growing up in the area will want play for their local club, everyone in the community would feel like part of the club. Our game is all about supporting your local club; it’s not about driving for over an hour to get to an empty sterile concrete stadium.”
The premiership-winning number 7 said that crowds would return to Campbelltown once the wins started to pile up.
“Ivan Cleary has come in and is doing his best to fix things, but they are still a long way from being a good team and the signings they have made are not going change that overnight.
“They have at least two years before we’ll start seeing the results. They could be packing the crowds into Campbelltown Stadium every second week by then.”