Failure not an option on Saturday: Tigers
Wests Tigers CEO Grant Mayer has declared that "failure isn't an option" on Saturday night – and he's not talking about his NRL team's match-up against the Baby Broncos in Campbelltown.
The club celebrates its 15th-year anniversary this weekend, a historic milestone that will be played against the same team on the same ground in front of almost their entire original squad from 2000.
While the club is committed to see out the final two years of its deal to play games in south-west Sydney, it's long-term relationship with the region will be untenable should a paltry 6,456 people continue to turn up to games - as was the case in a win against the Cowboys in mid-April.
The poor crowd prompted Mayer to announce $10 tickets to this Saturday's game.
"It is a last throw of the dice for Campbelltown to come and show they support their club. Then, we will have to reassess whether we continue to run games here at a loss," he said at the time.
This week, Mayer refused to speculate on what would happen if a repeat of the Round 6 crowd figure occurred. Instead, he implored the locals to come out and support a side sitting in the top six.
"That won't happen – failure is not an option. We've deliberately and intentionally targeted this game to have the crowd that we believe is appropriate. 12,500 is reasonable. It's realistic. We think we can get that crowd," Mayer told NRL.com.
"The fact is we're the only game in Sydney on Saturday night. Even the casual observer that wants to come along and watch a quality game of football, come and do it. Come and see some of our young star players against the Baby Broncos."
Mayer's call-to-arms will have echoed through the entire region in the lead-up, having organised functions with players almost every single day this week – a rarity in rugby league.
A special Women in League Movie Night was celebrated in Macarthur Square on Monday night; a free barbecue was set up at PCYC Minto on Tuesday; the club mascot and cheerleaders will be paraded through town centre on Wednesday; players will visit the Razorback Gala Day on Thursday; and finally, an open training session will be held on Friday before a visit to the hospital.
"We've literally letter-box dropped 50,000 homes in a lot of growth areas such as Camden and Narellan," Mayer continued.
"We've been on cinema this week with a TV commercial promoting the game around $10. Later this week we'll be using some of our venue partners, relationships with Wests Campbelltown, Liverpool Catholic Club, Wests Ashfield – we'll be promoting a very special family ticket price.
"We've been on 1000 telegraph poles advertising the game for over a week now. We're literally on buses and taxis driving in and around the south-west of Sydney. So we want everyone in the region to know this game is on. The call to arms has been well and truly taken up so far by our fans and our members and I've personally written to every one of our members this week for them to attend."
It will certainly be a challenge, given the absences of Origin stars Robbie Farah, Corey Parker, Matt Gillett, and Justin Hodges. Injuries to James Tedesco and Sam Thaiday won't help either.
An announcement on the status of the off-contract Tedesco would've helped, but Mayer said negotiations were still on-going.
"We've been pretty transparent about this. There's no doubt the club, the player himself and his management want to have James stay at the club. But they're never easy, these types of things. We're working to try and get a resolution," he said.