Tiger Town or Ghost Town?

John Chelsea

We’ve talked about this before at NRL News , but the value to home teams is massive at their old fashion suburban NRL grounds.

Manly, Wests Tigers and the Dragons have such an advantage at their smallish, enclosed, suburban stadiums.

Why in the world would Wests Tigers even think about moving their Leichhardt Oval home game against South Sydney to Telstra Stadium? One reason …. Money.

As Telstra Stadium offer Wests a super cheap deal to move the game to Homebush, the Wests Tigers have the chance to pocket big money from the addition of possibly another 20,000 fans into the larger Olympic stadium. Shane Richardson at Souths is also a fan of moving the game to Telstra, of course he would be happy with the idea – Telstra would be neutral territory and give Souths much more chance of winning the bumper clash.

What value does an NRL team place on 2 competition points? Playing at Leichhardt Oval, the Tigers will no doubt have a 12 point advantage over the Bunnies. The Tigers players have even stated publicly that playing at Leichhardt is worth 2 tries to them, the power of the crowd is that great.

While most NRL clubs could do with the cash, it’s certainly more sensible for the Tigers to think long term. Play the bumper clash with the Bunnies at Leichhardt to give a much greater chance of victory to Wests – the financial returns should the Wests Tigers reach the NRL finals will be of a much greater proportion to any short term money making from moving this weekends game to Telstra.

While the conditions for fans at Leichhardt may be average at best, with poor viewing angles, limited access to food and amenities and the age old problem of splinters in your bum from the wooden seats – the simple fact is, enemy NRL teams hate playing there and 18,000+ screaming Wests Tigers fans will be plenty to get them rolling along as they face the growing power of the South Sydney Rabbitohs.

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