Wests Tigers are headed to Liverpool. That’s the story coming out of The Daily Telegraph on Wednesday with a report outlining a partnership between the club and Liverpool City Council.
The deal will hopefully see a $22million centre of excellence built in Carnes Hill, twenty minutes from Campbelltown Sports Stadium.
After years of frustration, Tigers fans in the heart of Macarthur should be rejoicing. Twenty minutes is a victory for those who have resented the Concord base and everything it stood for in the maligned joint-venture.
Some factions will tell you it’s not good enough, that the Tigers should helicopter in a fifty tonne, gold-plated tiger and drop it on Queen Street in Campbelltown.
Rugby league in the southwest is the winner here, thank the almighty god.
Forget the Wests Magpies for a moment. This writer and his love for the old black and white has long been put aside to see the Macarthur get the recognition and the support it deserves.
The decision to move base to Liverpool for the Wests Tigers is surely to take advantage of the growing areas, not to make the Magpies happy.
“If the funding comes through, Liverpool is where we will be,” Tigers chairwoman Marina Go told The Daily Telegraph.
If the Tigers still want to play games at ANZ Stadium and Allianz Stadium, good on them.
The difference is they’ll be based where they’re supposed to be.
“It would be great for our local kids to be around their heroes and see them training — we don’t have a sports team fully engaged with Liverpool,” Liverpool Mayor Ned Mannoun added.
Read that quote again: “a sports team fully engaged with Liverpool.”
Liverpool and Campbelltown are basically overlapping now anyway.
The other day the club announced star forward Martin Taupau would be at Concord Oval showing off the new Marvel Comics jersey and all kids were invited. What chance did those kids have getting to Concord?
I was personally invited by former Tigers CEO Stephen Humphreys to meet him in his office after he read an article I wrote many years ago.
It was a story I’ve pushed many times since. The southwest is booming, it’s not going to stop growing anytime soon, it’s the future and the Tigers weren’t paying attention. Humphreys told me about all the different pieces of puzzle he had to deal with on a weekly basis. There was the Leagues Clubs, Balmain juniors, Wests Magpies, Wests juniors (who are a long and twisted story in their own right), the list went on. And here were the Wests Tigers trying to make everyone happy. The whole while, the people in Macarthur, in Liverpool, Camden and surrounds were forgotten.
The irritation was that if the NRL is about business and growth and Sydney clubs are smothering each other so much, why wouldn’t the Tigers move base?
A move to Liverpool gives the fans an identity, not just the club.
In June 2012 I wrote: “Instead of securing their future in a guaranteed growth area, the Tigers only play four games a year in the region and rarely are players seen training at the complex at Leumeah.
“It’s simply idiotic and smug that the club can hold such a large place to ransom the way they do.
“There is always a place for Leichhardt Oval and there always will be. The nostalgic venue is a hot ticket and should be treated accordingly.
“But Macarthur is different. The people want to be wanted. They want to be treated like Phil Gould is now treating the people of Penrith. With respect and with a team they can truly support.”
If the move is given the green light by Federal government, the area wins.
Wests Tigers will win too.
Finally, eventually, the Wests Tigers will win.
And they’ll never look back.