Wests Tigers to move home games
The Wests Tigers will move two games away from their home grounds in 2018 as part of a new agreement with the National Rugby League.
Under the current model, Ivan Cleary's side played four games apiece at ANZ Stadium, Leichhardt Oval and Campbelltown Stadium this season.
However with the decision announced today, both suburban venues at Leichhardt and Campbelltown will host three matches next year, while a long-term deal with ANZ Stadium remains for four games at the Olympic Park precinct.
The new initiative will see the remaining two games moved to venues outside of Sydney.
"We’re really pleased to be working with the NRL to develop the game of Rugby League across multiple locations," Wests Tigers CEO Justin Pascoe said on the club website.
"The decision to take two games to new locations was made after much deliberation.
"These decisions are never made lightly, however we believe it's the right decision for the game, our members and fans and our football department, and provides absolute balance, inclusive of our existing contractual commitments."
The joint venture averaged a solid crowd figure of 13,551 in 2017 after their best season to date membership-wise, but struggled to draw big numbers to Campbelltown with out of town teams a major factor.
Despite both suburban grounds losing out, Pascoe believed it was a positive for the club moving forward to reach fans outside of Sydney and grow their brand.
"Given the NRL now has more control of scheduling, it has been able to work more closely with clubs in developing these great whole of game initiatives - it is a compliment to our club that they chose to work with us," Pascoe said.
"Our suburban grounds are incredibly important to the history of this club and we look forward to playing a minimum of six games across Campbelltown Sports Stadium and Leichhardt Oval in 2018.
"We're also working hard behind the scenes to put in place long term agreements to play games at both venues."
Locations and dates are set to be announced by the club over the coming weeks, with the 2018 NRL Telstra Premiership draw expected to be confirmed by the end of the year.