3 days ago
If rugby league ever needed a good news story it's in 2009.
After just 9 rounds the NRL has endured the Manly season launch fiasco, the Matthew Johns group sex scandal and news of a Club that is reportedly flirting with insolvency and relocation.
On the flipside, the NRL has a welcome distraction from those detrimental issues through Friday night's match between the Dragons and the Bulldogs at the newly refurbished WIN Jubilee Oval.
It is the most anticipated event of the season and much of the hype surrounding the top of the table clash is because it's a local derby being staged at the hallowed Kogarah ground.
St.George supporters love Kogarah! It's not only symbolic of the Club's glorious past but the superbly upgraded facility is now a significant component of the Dragons' future.
Kogarah Jubilee offers the Dragons a high yield return, a significant homeground advantage and has played a key role in ensuring that Red V season memberships reach record levels.
The fact that Friday's clash at Kogarah is a sellout is something that the Daily Telegraph journalists should be celebrating with positive press, rather than publishing diatribes that only detract from the success of the code on the field.
Instead, the Daily Telegraph would do better investigating why the Grand Final rematch attracted a mere 10,752 patrons and why there was only a crowd of 8,412 at Gosford.
The Daily Telegraph spouted the same nonsense in 2007 when they called for the West Tigers to abandon Leichhardt Oval. Despite the pressure from the Murdoch press, the Tigers stuck to their guns and showed respect for their fans by keeping the game at home.
In the same way, the Dragons have also displayed a higher regard for their fans by keeping Friday's match at the Dragons' spiritual home. While Dragons CEO Peter Doust has received some criticism over the years on various issues relating to Kogarah, on this occasion he only deserves praise for not contemplating a move away from the St.George District.
It would be totally unethical for the Dragons to shift the match, as the Club's Red V members have paid money in advance on the guarantee that the match will be staged at WIN Jubilee Oval. Why should the St.George-Illawarra management sacrifice the loyalty displayed by those Dragons' supporters on the hope that they attract 20,000 additional Bulldogs fans?
It's a certainty that St.George supporters will not be upset if the Bulldogs fans stay away. At the time of the Daily Telegraph's article, there were still 3,000 seats available and therefore the Daily Telegraph article is just a beat-up.
Perhaps those Bulldogs supporters that are worried about missing out on a ticket should contact Ticketek directly and buy a ticket rather than providing feedback to the Bulldogs' Club about the prospect of missing out on a ticket.
The Journalist has written a flimsy article by failing to attract any direct quotes from ANZ Stadium, the SCG Trust and St.George-Illawarra. Instead the Journalist relied solely on quotes from the Bulldogs CEO Todd Greenberg, who should know better.
Greenberg is allegedly interested in returning the Bulldogs to Belmore Sports Ground, but his comments about the Kogarah hill are contradictory to his recent pro-Belmore statements that have appeased hardcore Canterbury fans.
Greenberg's statement that the NRL should have the power to determine scheduling is surely not heartfelt and would no doubt be retracted if the NRL directed the Bulldogs to play at a location which didn't satisfy their requirements.
If any supporters miss out on tickets to Friday's match, they can always watch the game on Channel Nine and Foxtel. From memory rugby league in TV-land was the Super League vision which the Daily Telegraph started to propagate just after that memorable Nathan Brown try at Kogarah in 1995.