THE St George Illawarra Dragons have become the fifth NRL club to commit to playing Sydney v Sydney blockbusters at Stadium Australia in 2014.
In conjunction with the NRL, the Dragons announced they were committing to a “Right Game, Right Venue” strategy as they move to grow the game and strengthen their own brand going forward.
The initiative will see the Dragons commit to playing two of their 12 home games at Stadium Australia – against opponents to be announced in the upcoming NRL draw.
Stadium Australia is now expected to host at least 16 Sydney v Sydney blockbusters involving home clubs with reciprocal Membership rights to Members of both competing clubs.
This will help Stadium Australia’s home NRL clubs build their crowds significantly and create a wonderful atmosphere for fans.
The Dragons will also play two home games at Moore Park venues – including the existing ANZAC Day game at Allianz Stadium.
The Dragons will retain eight home games per season at the traditional venues of WIN Jubilee Oval, Kogarah and WIN Stadium, Wollongong.
As part of the plan, the Dragons are looking to establish marquee matches against other Stadium Australia home clubs the Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs, South Sydney Rabbitohs, Wests Tigers and/or Parramatta Eels.
An example of how clubs can build marquee games with reciprocal Membership rights is the annual Rabbitohs v Bulldogs clash at Stadium Australia on Good Friday. This year’s game drew a record NRL crowd of 51,686.
The “Right Game, Right Venue” approach is in line with both the long-term NRL strategy and the NSW Government’s planned future investment in major Sydney venues. Earlier this year, the NSW Government unveiled the Sydney Olympic Park Stadia Masterplan, which outlined plans for a significant redevelopment of both the Stadium and surrounding precinct.
Certainly, the Dragons’ plan – on the back of the Wests Tigers’ recent announcement that they will play at least four home games at Stadium Australia for the next eight years – is further evidence that rugby league is entering an exciting new era.
It is also good news for Stadium Australia’s Members and corporate clients, with five NRL clubs with big supporter bases committing to blockbusters at Stadium Australia in 2014 and beyond.
Standby for further details surrounding who the Dragons will play at Stadium Australia in 2014.