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St.George-Illawarra CEO Peter Doust has provided Red V members with a brief update on the permanent lighting issue at OKI Jubilee Stadium (14/07/2004).
According to Doust, the Dragons made an attempt to secure Federal Government funding for this key improvement in September2003. To date, the Dragons have had little success and it doesn't appearthat there is a clear plan to pursue the funding.
Red V members were informed that the club had intended to install the lights themselves in late 2003. However, Kogarah Council reportedly asked the Dragons to delay the installation until after the Council elections in March this year. The Dragons have now delayed the possibility of installing the lights themselves as the St.George Leagues Club wants to gauge the impact of the new poker machine tax on its financial position.
On a positive note, Doust mentioned that the Dragons are looking to introduce a "Master Development Plan" that will aim to attract funding for the lights and additional seating from the Federal Government. It's a pity that this plan wasn't designed and implemented following the 2003 season. A plan of this nature would have been timely with the 2004 Federal election.
Supporters should be concerned that OKI Jubilee Stadium wasn't guaranteed 50% of home matches beyond 2005. If the joint venture is to continue, it is only equitable that Kogarah gains 50% of home games from 2006. St.George based supporters have been patient throughout the post-2002 period as WIN has automatically been granted a minimum of 7 home matches per year. It would be an unacceptable outcome if Kogarah doesn't gain at least 50% of home games from2006 onwards.
It was also hinted that Kogarah might only gain 4 matches next season. It appears that a feature match against Souths at the SCG may be considered and that this match could be deducted fromKogarah's allocation of home games.
R2K will actively oppose any scenario that doesn't guarantee OKI Jubilee Stadium a minimum of 50% of home games beyond 2005. R2K opposes any move in 2005 to take another NRL match away from the St.George district.
In other news, the joint venture licence with the NRL has been extended until 2011. The Dragons admitted that the licence would revert back to St.George if Illawarra were to exit the joint venture, subject to NRL approval.