The future of Campbelltown Sports Stadium as a home venue will be high on the agenda when the newly structured Wests Tigers board comes together for the first time next month.
Club officials are frustrated by the lack of support from the Campbelltown contingency of Tigers fans compared with that at Leichhardt Oval, after only 6456 turned out for Saturday night’s win against the Cowboys.
The Tigers will play four games at each of their three home grounds this year (ANZ Stadium, Leichhardt and Campbelltown) but it is understood the new board is likely to discuss the possibility of moving the round-21 game at Campbelltown to another venue.
The match against Melbourne hasn't been locked into a date and time given the broadcasters have left the scheduling for the final six rounds until later in the year.
Stripping Campbelltown of one of their home games would not sit well with the Western Suburbs-aligned supporters of the Tigers, however, the cash-stricken club can ill afford a repeat of Saturday night's crowd given the two other home games at ANZ Stadium and Leichhardt Oval attracted crowds of 19,860 and 16,311 respectively this year.
After last week’s incredible victory against Manly at Leichhardt Oval, several senior players questioned management over why more games weren’t scheduled at the inner-city venue, with those same players expressing disappointment over Campbelltown’s disinterest in the joint venture club this week.
Wests Tigers chairman and Western Suburbs Magpies deputy chairman Mike Bailey said the future of Campbelltown was with the new board.
"I'd have to say that any game beyond our next game at Campbelltown will be in the hands of the new board," Bailey said. "It's not up to me to make a projection as to which way a new board may go."
Since 2012, Campbelltown and Leichhardt have hosted nine games. However, only twice has Campbelltown attracted a crowd larger than the Leichhardt average of 13,980 during the same period.
Tigers chief executive Grant Mayer said the club would undertake extensive research to discover the best way to promote the next game at Campbelltown, against Brisbane in round 11.
"We’ve got to be sympathetic to the entire situation," Mayer said. "We've spent 15 years in the area, we shouldn't be making a knee-jerk reaction to one poor crowd. We need to work harder and smarter to find a way to improve the club’s relationship with the south-west."
"The 6500 that were there, the passion and the desire they showed was amazing, and without doubt lifted our boys to get the result we did, so we take our hats off to the commitment they all made," Mayer said.
Less than half of the 2500 allocated members for Campbelltown Sports Stadium attended Saturday night's victory against North Queensland,
The corporate boxes were at capacity with 400 in attendance, while 4500 tickets were sold for the match that, despite the poor crowd, still made plenty of noise for the first game of the season in Campbelltown.
While the crowd figure was disappointing, those at the ground showed plenty of commitment, exceeding the club's expectations by buying more than $15,000 worth of merchandise.
While Bailey says the NRL needs to invest more time and money to help increase interest in the Tigers and rugby league in the south-west, he said the region was crying out for local support.
"It's got to come from the top [the NRL] but it's also got to come from the local business people as well," Bailey said.
"We've been out there for 15 years now, and we're still waiting for someone to come along and say 'you guys need to be here and we're prepared to help'. Whether it's local businesses or politicians, that needs to be examined.
"I respect the people in the area saying 'yes, you may be our club but you are not actually out here'. If we're ever going to get out there, which doesn't look like happening in the foreseeable future, it needs to be embraced by more people embracing it at the moment."