Illawarra fans come under fire

  • by R2K
  • March 26 2005 12:00AM

The Illawarra Mercury has questioned the support of the Illawarra based Dragons' supporters who are demanding a minimum of seven home games per season at Wollongong's WIN Stadium.

The Mercury's Paul Suttor believes that the fans from the Illawarra must attend in far greater numbers if they are to back up any of their demands.

"A mere 9,032 spectators turned out for St.George-Illawarra's round two contest with Melbourne, their first Wollongong home match for the year," Suttor wrote.

While the Mercury was flooded with letters against the proposed move to Homebush, Suttor questioned the support of those who claim to be so passionate about keeping the Dragons in the Illawarra.

"But how many of them bothered to turn out last Saturday night?" Suttor asked.

While the Illawarra Mercury has sometimes expressed views on the Dragons' home ground issue that could be a little more balanced, the poor attendance for the first home game of the year appears to have been a reality check for the publication.

It is expected that the Dragons will meet with the Wollongong Sportsground Trust next week to commence negotiations on a new lease at the venue.

While the process is expected to take at least two months, the Dragons must be mindful that Kogarah's Oki Jubilee Stadium deserves an equitable deal going forward. Kogarah is a more economically viable venue than Wollongong and clearly outperforms Wollongong on crowd average.

In every season since the formation of the St.George-Illawarra joint-venture, WIN Stadium has finished behind the Dragons' Sydney home venues on crowd average.

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