PREVIEW 🔍 Robert Crosby looks at what to expect in Sunday night's second State of Origin clash.
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Malcolm Noad, CEO, Mitsubishi Electric Bulldogs, announced today the Bulldogs Club has extended its agreement to play its home games at Telstra Stadium until 2020.
The Bulldogs will also enter into an agreement with the Sydney Olympic Park Authority to move its administrative and training headquarters to Sydney Olympic Park.
Mr Noad said, ?We are very pleased to continue our successful association with Telstra Stadium and Sydney Olympic Park. In our opinion, it is the number one sports venue in Australia and has all the facilities that an elite sports team requires. This year the Bulldogs will play eight home games at Telstra Stadium. Come 2008, all of our home matches will be played at Telstra Stadium.?
Ken Edwards, CEO, Telstra Stadium said, ?The long-term arrangement is a natural progression for the Bulldogs because Telstra Stadium is already working so well for the club. We?re delighted that the Bulldogs crowds this season has given them the highest average attendances of any Sydney club and a great game day atmosphere.
?With the world-class facilities on offer, there?s a compelling case for Bulldogs to make their home here and have all their training, administrative and playing operations in the same precinct.?
The Bulldogs will be establishing their administrative headquarters at the Athletics Centre in a building currently occupied by the NSW Institute of Sport. NSWIS will be relocating to new premises at Sydney Olympic Park in late 2006.
The Bulldogs? arrangement will also include access to a number of training facilities at Sydney Olympic Park including the Athletic Centre, Warm Up Track, Telstra Stadium and potentially other venues within the Sydney Olympic Park precinct.
Mr Brian Newman, CEO, Sydney Olympic Park Authority said he would be very pleased to welcome the Bulldogs to the precinct and looks forward to finalising commercial arrangements in the near future.
Mr Newman said, ?With the Bulldogs joining the Razorbacks, Swifts, Swans, Rabbitohs and Wests Tigers this further reinforces Sydney Olympic Park as the Home of Sport and the place to see Australia's best national leagues and competitions."
Mr Noad added, ?In picking Sydney Olympic Park over our other option, The Crest Complex at Bass Hill, many factors were considered. What got the Sydney Olympic Park option over the line was the significant financial windfall from Telstra Stadium, together with near-new facilities and increased commercial opportunities through association with the best sports precinct in Australia.
?We recognize that Sydney Olympic Park Athletics Centre will still be the chief training facility for athletes from NSW Institute of Sport and will be used for athletics carnivals at all levels. The Bulldogs will be working around all planned athletics events and training schedules when organizing our training program. We are very lucky that being based at the Sydney Olympic Park gives us at least three training ground options ? the main field at the Athletics Centre, the Warm Up track and Telstra Stadium. The access to these three grounds means the relationship between the Bulldogs and the athletics community will be a harmonious one.?
Bulldogs Chairman Dr George Peponis said, ? The decision to move from Belmore Sports Ground was not an easy one, but we had no alternative due to the inadequate training and administration facilities at the Belmore, with Canterbury Council unable to fund an overdue upgrade.?
Dr Peponis added, ?This led to there being two options open to the Bulldogs Board as we looked forward ? moving to The Crest Complex at Bass Hill or moving to Sydney Olympic Park. The decision to choose Sydney Olympic Park was based on various criteria including training facilities, enhanced commercial opportunities and financial security. In addition, it made sense to have ?everything under one roof? ? training, playing and administration facilities all based at Sydney Olympic Park.
?The selection process was exhaustive, lasting six months, and involved consultation with our coaching staff and a vast number of our fans, who voted two-to-one for the move to the Sydney Olympic Park over The Crest.
Mr Noad said, ?The Bulldogs have always been at the forefront of coaching practices and training techniques and it is important to support that with state-of-the-art facilities. We will be utilizing the office space and gymnasium currently being used by the NSW Institute of Sport.?
?Several years ago the Club took its biggest step in moving our home games to Telstra Stadium. This decision was embraced by our supporters who are attending games in record levels. Crowds for our home games in 2005 are already up 14% year-on-year. There is a natural streamlining in moving our administrative headquarters to the Athletics Centre with our home ground right next door.? said Mr Noad.
Bulldogs first grade coach Steve Folkes said, ?I have many great memories from Belmore, both as a player and coach. Unfortunately, the facilities are now below the standard required for an NRL team. I believe the move to Sydney Olympic Park will benefit our player recruitment and retention programs. It will also allow our players to perform at their optimum and increase the Club?s appeal to prospective sponsors.?
Mr Noad commented, ?Although the Club will be moving its headquarters to Sydney Olympic Park, it will continue to serve the Canterbury Bankstown area through its close ties with the Canterbury League Club in Belmore, its merchandise outlet in Bankstown and the continued player visits to local schools and community centres. In addition, the Club will continue to oversee the Canterbury Bankstown District Junior Rugby League (CBDJRL). We have approached the NSW Rugby League to have the Sydney Olympic Park precinct included in the Bulldogs? junior boundaries and are hopeful this will occur.?
Paul Tycehurst, President of the CBDJRL, said ?We are fully behind the decision made by the Bulldogs Board as we know it is in the best interests of the Club. The Junior League is not affected by our home base moving to Sydney Olympic Park. All our competition games will continue to be played at our local grounds throughout the season. I know the outstanding support we receive from the Bulldogs? coaching staff and players will continue.?