WESTS Tigers are officially set to walk away from Homebush and shift to Sydney Football Stadium in a move that has shocked Sydney Roosters.
The Tigers and the SCG Trust are understood to have struck a deal, with six games to be played at the SFS and three each at Campbelltown Stadium and Leichhardt Oval.
In a financial boon for the club, Wests Tigers will receive about $100,000 for each game through gate takings.
The club claims it has undertaken research showing their western Sydney fans will travel to Moore Park for games.
Privately, the NRL has backed the move amid concerns at the vast amount of empty seats at every televised game at ANZ Stadium. But the Roosters are confused about the move.
“It all seems a bit strange,” senior Sydney Roosters official Richard Fisk said. “I thought they were the Wests Tigers, not the East Tigers.”
Incoming Wests Tigers chief executive Scott Longmuir believes the club’s western Sydney fans will travel east.
“Our club has a geographically broad brand name,” he said.
“We have done assessments on this. The distance and travel time from Campbelltown isn’t that far or that long. I think the fans will (travel), for sure.
“All successful teams from around the world have the strongest markets and best stadiums.”
SCG Trust chief executive Jamie Barkley claimed Wests Tigers’ move was a “terrific outcome”.
“The SFS and the Wests Tigers will form a strong partnership,” he said.
ANZ Stadium chief executive Ken Edwards harboured no animosity toward the Tigers.
“We wish them all the best,” he said.
“We understand they are going for good, sound financial reasons.
“We’ve had five good years with the Tigers. They won a premiership here and we hope that they will return one day.”
The three matches which are set down for Campbelltown will be played early next season with the ground closed for renovation at the end of May.