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On this night, 12 months ago, St.George-Illawarra supporters rallied for the return of the Dragons to Kogarah's Jubilee Oval. The R2K group hosted an Information Night at Kogarah RSL Club, with guest speakers including Frank Hyde, Robert Stone, Tony Squires and Dick Caine. Many supporters regard the Information Night as the catalyst for the long awaited return which was announced on the 5th of September last year.
While R2K experienced great support from mainstream supporters, it also had its critics who felt that the return to Jubilee Oval was unrealistic in the post Super-League era. There was a widespread view that Kogarah Council was the main obstacle to the return of the Dragons, while others had a notion that the residents of Carlton would never allow NRL games in their locality again. The Information Night helped to clear up such misconceptions and the R2K website continues to keep supporters informed on all issues relating to Jubilee Oval.
While Kogarah Council supported the return of the Dragons in principle at the Information Night, it soon announced its full support when Mayor Jim Taylor recommended a maintenance program that paved the way for the Dragons' return.
Since the return to Kogarah was announced in September, the Jubilee Oval Community Appeal (JOCA) has been established to help raise funding for the necessary upgrade. To date, JOCA has raised $1.646 million. Of the $1.646 million, $800,000 has been provided by the NSW State Government, $538,000 by the St.George Leagues Club, $278,000 by Kogarah Council and $30,000 from St.George-Illawarra supporters. Rockdale Council will be donating $50,000 at the end of the financial year, while it is hoped that Hurstville Council will make the same financial commitment. BHP Steel Lysaght, Bexley's United Stone and Hyform Constructions have made in-kind donations to the appeal.
However, JOCA reports that $460,000 is still required for the initial upgrade. While $30,000 is a good beginning from the supporters, it is hoped that the donations will increase considerably over the next month in the lead-up to the first game at Kogarah against the Sharks.
Supporters can assist the Jubilee Oval upgrade by visiting the JOCA website. JOCA is currently selling merchandise including granite pavers, brick pavers and Jubilee Oval shirts which directly raise funding for the upgrade. The JOCA website is:
The R2K group is also doing its bit for the upgrade by selling commemorative 2003 R2K t-shirts. The profits from the sale of each t- shirt are being donated to the Jubilee Oval Community Appeal. The R2K t-shirt page can be found at:
The Information Night last year expressed our desire to see the Dragons return to Jubilee Oval on a permanent basis. The Jubilee Oval Community Appeal is a means of ensuring that the Dragons will be based at Kogarah permanently, as all funds raised are contributed towards the improvements at the ground. As supporters, let us not miss this opportunity to ensure the future of elite rugby league in the St.George district.
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