The once mighty Western Suburbs Magpies will continue in sporting purgatory next season with a likely move to the third-tier Bundy Cup competition in 2013.
This is hard to say for an old Magpies diehard. But maybe it is time to take old yeller out the back and finally put Western Suburbs out of its misery.
Don’t get me wrong. A part of me is glad the black and white jumper will live on for at least another year. But the other part of me can see the writing on the wall.
Wests Tigers are the future. And everyone knows you can’t fight the future.
The Macarthur region deserves better than the decades of in-fighting and factions and second-rate football teams. It’s time for the Wests Tigers franchise to take control.
But don’t take this admission of defeat without warning. The Wests Tigers club must stretch their presence in the south west.
Let’s get one thing clear, I once lived and breathed the Magpies. I would cry when we won and I’d cry when we lost. Losing was a lot more frequent.
Other kids had push bikes. Some, like my brother, would spend hours down the bush making cubby houses. For me, it was all about footy and the Magpies.
I was there for the final game in 1999 against the Auckland Warriors at Campbelltown Stadium. A 12-year-old weeping with a bunch of strangers thirty and forty years his senior must have been a sight to behold.
The Warriors destroyed the beleaguered Magpies that day. Yet it didn’t stop the diehards from chanting for their old club one last time in the big league.
I was there in 1996 when Andrew Willis kicked a monster field goal to send the Goldstar Magpies into the playoffs for the final time. Like it was yesterday, I can still remember running along under the western grandstand as the ball left Willis’ boot.
Andrew Leeds was a god. So much of a god in fact, that when he sat down behind us at a Sheffield Shield match one afternoon, I understandably bolted and hid in the Members Stand for two hours.
There is a reason these are memories. Because they are in the past. Another time.
It’s time the Wests Tigers became a single entity from the top down. That includes the demise of the Balmain Tigers.
Outgoing Wests Tigers chairman David Trodden had some wise words after quitting his post.
“I don’t see the joint-venture structure as a structure for the long term,” Trodden said.
“I certainly think it’s time for the organisation to revisit its structure and to think about what the best structure would be to take the organisation to that next level. At some point of the joint venture, you have to get to a point where the joint-venture structure is not the most appropriate structure to take you forward.
“We now have one State Cup team, rather than two. For Wests Tigers to take that next step in its evolution, the club needs to concentrate on things they have in common, rather than the things which split them. [And] in order to take that next step, you probably need somebody who is not identified with things which happened in the past.”
You can always respect the past. But its time the Wests Tigers created their own history. No factions, no Western Suburbs Magpies, no Balmain Tigers.
A Greek proverb goes, “A society grows great when old men plant trees whose shade they know they shall never sit in.”
The Wests Tigers must start planting their own trees for the next generation. Under one banner.