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Kogarah shafted in NRL stadium change

The NRL has made the latest shift in the move to an across-the-game stadia policy, with St George Illawarra reducing their commitment to their spiritual homes of Kogarah Oval and WIN Stadium for at least the next four seasons.
Kogarah shafted in NRL stadium change
by AAP

By James MacSmith

SYDNEY, Nov 18 AAP - The NRL has made the latest shift in the move to an across-the-game stadia policy, with St George Illawarra reducing their commitment to their spiritual homes of Kogarah Oval and WIN Stadium for at least the next four seasons.

Fears that beloved suburban home grounds will be completely phased out of the NRL may be wide of the mark.

But the latest development will alarm the game's traditionalists who say historic grounds are not being paid their due.

After consultation with the NRL, the Dragons will share only eight games a season between Kogarah Oval and Wollongong's WIN Stadium in 2014.

This season they played five games at Kogarah and six games in Wollongong.

Some fans of the Red V are sure to be upset at the change, with the joint venture committing to play four of their 12 home games each season for the next four years at Allianz Stadium, the SCG and ANZ Stadium.

The Dragons say the move is aimed at consolidating the club's future and they got on the front foot on Monday with chief executive Peter Doust announcing the move alongside NRL boss Dave Smith.

According to a Dragons media release "the new venue model is about ensuring long-term sustainability whilst maintaining a balance with the club's traditions".

"We are looking to be the major player in what will be a game-wide strategy going forward," Doust said in the statement.

"If we are going to grow membership and attendances we are going to require additional capacity, and the NSW State Government has made it clear that it will only invest in major venues, moving forward.

"We will always be committed to our region and our traditions, however we also want all our members and fans to be able to see the biggest games of the year, and to receive increased benefits.

"This decision has been based on a platform for economic enhancement and growth capability, leading to long term financial sustainability."

Smith backed the move.

"They have really thought this through and it is a smart move," he said.

"Any change will take some adjustment but they have a clear aim to build a big-match atmosphere around the key matches and that is what we all need to work towards.

"At the same time there remains a strong commitment to their traditional venues."

The Dragons said the new approach, which means they will now have five home grounds, was in line with the NRL's long-term stadia strategy and the NSW Government's planned future investment in major Sydney venues.




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