The NSW Blues have been named for the first game of the 2017 #Origin series.
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Last Sunday's edition of The Sunday Telegraph has reported that the round 24 St.George-Illawarra home game at OKI Jubilee Stadium against the Tigers has been moved to the SCG.
Although the St.George-Illawarra management are yet to confirm the move, Dragons' CEO Peter Doust said little on 2GB this afternoon to suggest that OKI Jubilee Stadium would maintain its already meagre allocation of 5 home games.
R2K will oppose any move that further reduces the allocation of home games in the St.George District and believes that it would be a completely inappropriate decision for the round 24 match to be switched from Kogarah.
While WIN Stadium has been promised 50% of home matches to at least the end of 2011, OKI Jubilee Stadium has gained no such assurances despite gaining an $8 million Federal Government upgrade in addition to the initial $2.4 million stage one upgrade.
A switch of venues would be incongruous with the Dragons? commitment to its St.George key community considering that the ANZAC Day match has already been deducted from the St.George allocation of home games.
OKI Jubilee season ticket holders were promised 5 matches at OKI Jubilee Stadium and have purchased membership packages on that basis. A switch of the round 24 match to the SCG is not in the short term interests of the Dragons as it entails forsaking a significant home ground advantage. A reduction in Kogarah matches is also not in the best long term interests of rugby league in the St.George District as such moves could severely jeopardise future attempts to gain governmental funding for OKI Jubilee Stadium.
The Dragons made the correct decision in 2005 by keeping the Parramatta match at Jubilee. As Peter Doust has stated at that time:
"We have made a commitment to our boutique grounds and for us it's about selling out consistently."
Hopefully the Dragons will continue to honour their commitments and treat the Dragons? spiritual home ground with the respect and consideration it so richly deserves.
The following is a transcript of an interview between 2GB?s Ray Hadley and Doust this last Sunday:
Hadley: Is there a decision on it yet?
Doust: No, there?s not mate. It?s been a proposal that the SCG Trust and in concert with the NRL has put to the Dragons in supporting the celebration of the sixties week which is in that round."
Hadley: In other words, a Grand Final between Western Suburbs and St.George probably?
Doust: Yeah, the sixties week which is the promotion that the NRL do, well they celebrate a week?a decade in rugby league each year. The sixties this year obviously has a predominance of St.George in it from the past and they are looking at trying to get back to the SCG and celebrating the classic St.George-Wests Grand Finals. The proposal has been put forward but no decision has been taken yet.
Hadley: Would it be financially beneficial to look at the proposal or just simply be something that you look at in terms of going along with the NRL because of the ?Back To The Sixties? week?
Doust: Well I think it?s both Ray. I think we don?t like to take away a game from our traditional communities - that?s the game for OKI. We?ve got one short there this year because of the ANZAC Day was our home game, so we don?t do that lightly, but as you know it?s about the finances of the game but it?s also about the traditions of the game as well so there?s a complex you might say set of variables that we?re considering. But no decision yet.
Hadley: Okay, any idea when you will come up with a decision on where that will be played?
Doust: Yeah, I?d say in the next 10 days.