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Ongoing re-development works at Oki Jubilee Stadium will see the St George Illawarra Dragons play their first three home games of the 2006 season at WIN Stadium in Wollongong.
The NRL released the 2006 schedule two weeks ago, leaving the Dragons to determine their home game venue split, which includes an even split of seven games in both key communities, Wollongong and Sydney.
Dragons Chief Executive Officer Peter Doust said there were a number of issues to consider in making the decision but believes the appropriate balance has been reached.
?We are very fortunate to have two communities in which to play rugby league and part of our ongoing strategy is to spread the opposition teams across both regions,? said Doust.
?While it may not be the optimal situation, appropriate time for building works to be completed at Oki Jubilee Stadium and venue clashes at WIN Stadium needed to be taken into consideration during this process.
?We believe the 2006 venue allocation provides for a number of high quality matches in both of our community markets and given the number of occasions that venue capacity was reached in 2005, we anticipate an even greater demand this season,? added Doust.
In 2006, the Dragons will host the Panthers in their first home game at WIN Stadium in Round 2 followed by the Broncos (Rnd 4), Knights (Rnd 5), Warriors (Rnd 10), Cowboys (Rnd16) and Sharks (Rnd 25) at the same venue.
Round 13 will see the first game at Oki Jubilee Stadium against the Eels followed by the Rabbitohs (Rnd18), Bulldogs (Rnd 19), Storm (Rnd 21) and Tigers (Rnd 24).
It will be the first time the Dragons will play the Rabbitohs, Bulldogs and Storm at Oki Jubilee Stadium since the return to Kogarah in 2003. It will also be the first time the Dragons will host the local derby with the Sharks at WIN Stadium during the regular season.
The Dragons also plan to continue to honor their traditions in both communities throughout the season with the Illawarra Heritage match planned for Round 4 against the Broncos and the St George Heritage match will Round 24 against the Tigers in line with the NRL?s 60s week promotion.
The Dragons will play two pre-season matches, one in each community, the first against the Rabbitohs on February 18 in the traditional Charity Shield match at Telstra Stadium and the second on Sunday, February 26 at WIN Stadium against the Roosters.
ST GEORGE ILLAWARRA DRAGONS 2006 ROUND DRAW
February 18 Charity Shield v Rabbitohs Telstra Stadium
February 26 Dragons v Roosters WIN Stadium
Round Team Day Date Time Venue
1 Tigers Friday 10th March 7.30pm Telstra Stadium
2 Panthers Sunday 19th March 3.00pm WIN Stadium
3 Rabbitohs Sunday 26th March 2.30pm Telstra Stadium
4 Broncos Sunday 2nd April 3.00pm WIN Stadium
5 Knights Saturday 8th April 7.30pm WIN Stadium
6 Sea Eagles 14-17 April Brookvale Oval
7 Roosters 25th April Aussie Stadium
8 Storm 28-30 April Olympic Park
9 Sharks 6-7 May Toyota Park
10 Warriors 13-14 May WIN Stadium
12 Knights 27-29 May Energy Australia Stadium
13 Eels 2-4 June Oki Jubilee Stadium
14 Panthers 9-11 June Penrith Football Stadium
15 Broncos 16-18 June Suncorp Stadium
16 Cowboys 24-26 June WIN Stadium
18 Rabbitohs 7-9 July Oki Jubilee Stadium
19 Bulldogs 14-16 July Oki Jubilee Stadium
20 Raiders 21-23 July Canberra Football Stadium
21 Storm 28-30 July Oki Jubilee Stadium
22 Eels 4-6 August Parramatta Stadium
23 Bulldogs 11-13 August Telstra Stadium
24 Tigers 18-20 August Oki Jubilee Stadium
25 Sharks 25-27 August WIN Stadium
26 Roosters 1-3 September Aussie Stadium