The Waratahs should represent all of NSW

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By Shop, Shop is a Roar Guru

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    Patrick McCutcheon of the NSW Waratahs congratulates team mate Bernard Foley after scoring. (Photo: Paul Barkley/LookPro)

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    I noticed that the last Chiefs game was played at Mt Maunganui. They also play home games in Rotorua, with Hamilton being their principle home. Why? Because they are all in the Waikato province.

    It got me thinking, why don’t the Waratahs, who are supposed to represent NSW, only play at Sydney Football Stadium (sorry, they sometimes venture all the way to Homebush for the odd game also)?

    There are obvious reasons to play in Paddington, and probably the main one being it is a large capacity ground close to the largest fan-base. This obviously can attract the biggest revenues.

    However, the crowds at the SFS haven’t exactly been bursting the gates at Waratahs games in recent times.

    This is no surprise, with recent seasons showcasing nothing but stifling and uninspired rugby as well as losing far more games than have been won. Hopefully coach Michael Cheika can remedy both of these problems soon.

    Meanwhile, perhaps this can provide the perfect opportunity for the Waratahs to think a little outside the box by thinking outside Sydney.

    I noticed that this year one of the poorest crowds recorded for a Tahs game turned out, albeit partly due to ugly weather, barely scraped 11,000 fans.

    Why not take one of the seasons home games to a place like the Central Coast, Coffs Harbour or even Dubbo?

    These places may not be by themselves heartlands for rugby but surely a Super Rugby game could be marketed to draw fans from the surrounding areas.

    Please correct me if I’m wrong, but I would guess some fans from Orange or Bathurst would venture to Dubbo or a Gosford game would attract some of the fans from the Hunter Valley and Newcastle.

    These grounds have capacities over 11,000 so if the punters do turn up the ground would look packed, the atmosphere more exciting and the revenue would be comparable to a poor night at the SFS.

    This revenue could possibly be made up by merchandise sales to a relatively new market.

    Is the idea of venturing outside Sydney far-fetched?

    Probably, especially considering that the NSW rugby aren’t currently known for their innovation or superior management, but it actually follows in line with the current top down strategy that the ARU seem to be adopting (not that I agree with it).

    Wouldn’t it be great to see the Tahs actually spread their wings a little?

    I would argue that NSW country rugby once held together the backbone of Australian rugby. Why not pay something back?

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    The Crowd Says (88)

    • April 4th 2013 @ 12:46pm
      Rory said | April 4th 2013 @ 12:46pm | ! Report

      Not sure about Dubbo, but Bluetongue (Gosford), Wollongong & Newcastle could be goers. Parramatta stadium is also a good venue and the Western Sydney Wanderers are attracting great crowds to football there.

      But after hearing first-hand all the griping that goes on when the Tahs play at Homebush, I don’t think management will want to alienate what few fans they have left.

    • Roar Guru

      April 4th 2013 @ 12:51pm
      Turnover said | April 4th 2013 @ 12:51pm | ! Report

      North Sydney Oval would do the job. Not keen on going any further than that.

      • April 4th 2013 @ 1:11pm
        Shop said | April 4th 2013 @ 1:11pm | ! Report

        Good idea but I suppose the idea of the article is to get out of Sydney.

        What’s the capacity?
        Has it changed since Greg Florimo’s last match for the NS Bears?

      • April 4th 2013 @ 1:30pm
        nickoldschool said | April 4th 2013 @ 1:30pm | ! Report

        Mate was thinking the same! Would love the Tahs to play there! Capacity is close to 20k I think.

      • April 5th 2013 @ 12:00am
        GWS said | April 5th 2013 @ 12:00am | ! Report

        Keep your tahs to yourself.
        They are rugby poison.

    • Roar Rookie

      April 4th 2013 @ 1:04pm
      Boomeranga said | April 4th 2013 @ 1:04pm | ! Report

      I think Newcastle and Wollongong would be good ventures. I’m from Country NSW, but think while trial games in the bigger regoinal towns are a good idea, there isnt enough regular season games to take them to far away from the regular fan base.

      • April 4th 2013 @ 1:21pm
        Mals said | April 4th 2013 @ 1:21pm | ! Report

        Yep good points. The Tahs could play a couple of the smaller drawing overseas teams out of Sydney. Take a game to Newcastle & a game to Wollongong & actually do some good promotion before hand.

    • April 4th 2013 @ 1:07pm
      Gary Russell-Sharam said | April 4th 2013 @ 1:07pm | ! Report

      All in all a perfectly logical idea with heaps of merit. “Bringing the game to the people” a wonderful idea that would please a great % of rugby fans.

      Will it happen, will hell freeze over???? Not while the present Tah’s admin is in charge.

      You need people that think outside the box and I’m sorry I’ve never seen any evidence of this in the Tahs admin in all the years I’ve watched them. And this goes back over 40 years even in the amateur days.

      Qld Reds have a trial match every two years at Toowoomba and the venues that Toowoomba has are not big and have not got the capacity to hold big crowds but that doesn’t deter them they go ahead and the Rugby fans in the country are very appreciative of the effort.

      NSW have got big stadiums around the state that could hold decent crowds as pointed out in the post so why doesn’t it happen?

      Because the admin seems to be sooo far removed from the ordinary fan.

      I will quote a similar scenario, in Qld the Ballymore Club which was very old and had oodles of tradition and had a good solid membership had a admin that was so far removed from what the ordinary member wanted, so far in fact that they deserted Ballymore our traditional home and went and leased a glitzy glass and chrome place the middle of the city on the river and then when the floods came it was inundated but did that stop them they went and built a new place just down the road and went to the members to chip in to assist with building it. It was inundated and then they went to the members to help them get out of the mess that most members didn’t want in the first place. Needless to say sanity prevailed and the members didn’t want to throw good money after bad.

      Sadly this wonderful institution is now defunct much to the chagrin of members like me that have loyally supported the Ballymore Club for over 35 years. Sent broke by people that were out of touch with what the general member wanted.

      Consensus of opinion that I have spoken to would have preferred if it was imperative to shift from Ballymore most would have preferred a place less glitzy and out of the flood plane.

      Sound sensible????

      Sound familiar to what is being spoken about in this post.

      A good admin is in touch with the membership that is why the present Reds admin is doing so well, they are in tune with what the membership wants Rod McCall went to the membership and asked them what they wanted when he arrived, he understood what it was and he has taken the steps to provide the ordinary fan what they require

      That’s why the Reds membership is the highest of the franchises, That’s why they get big crowds to Suncorp

      • April 4th 2013 @ 1:14pm
        Shop said | April 4th 2013 @ 1:14pm | ! Report

        I had visions of “hell freezing over” as I wrote the article.

    • April 4th 2013 @ 1:21pm
      Wii said | April 4th 2013 @ 1:21pm | ! Report

      All the New Zealand franchises tend to take Super matches to their partner unions be they trial or regular season games.

      On a side note Tauranga / Mt Maunganui and Rotorua are not in the Waikato they are in fact in The Bay of Plenty.
      The Chiefs represent Counties Manukau / Waikato / Thames Valley / Bay of Plenty and The King Country

      • April 4th 2013 @ 1:28pm
        Shop said | April 4th 2013 @ 1:28pm | ! Report

        Sorry, my bad. My NZ geography probably should be better after spending a hard winter in Masterton, but the point is as you say, NZ teams take their teams to the places they represent, not just the largest centre.

        • April 4th 2013 @ 2:53pm
          atlas said | April 4th 2013 @ 2:53pm | ! Report


          My last NZ home was in Pahiatua (bring your own sheep jokes); 6km further north, Mangatainoka (town population 137, district 1700) where the Hurricanes play a pre-season each year – another 8,000 sellout in Feb 2013. They ‘build’ a field for the one-off event, temporary grandstands brought in, and move the sheep off two weeks before the match.

          Hurricanes not playing in New Plymouth/Taranaki again this year – in fact they have no home games outside Wellington – in previous times they have played NP, Palmerston North and Napier. In New Plymouth case I think it’s quite a snub esp considering the small crowds in Wellington – NP good enough to host/sell-out tests – success at RWC, and they have another one, France, in June.

          The Highlanders always play a match in Invercargill – this year’s one at a financial loss but part of their commitment to rugby in the region. That’s the balance, support/maintain and hopefully increase the fan-base.

          • April 4th 2013 @ 5:11pm
            Ian said | April 4th 2013 @ 5:11pm | ! Report

            Not to mention the Crusaders play occasionally at Nelson and Timaru, and the Blues at Albany and Whangarei.

            • April 5th 2013 @ 12:31am
              Shop said | April 5th 2013 @ 12:31am | ! Report

              I played at East Coast rugby club and they only moved the sheep a few hours before the matches.
              How are the Wairarapa doing? They were cellar dwellers in my time there.

              • April 5th 2013 @ 12:49pm
                atlas said | April 5th 2013 @ 12:49pm | ! Report

                12 clubs in Wairarapa-Bush*
                W-B play in the Heartland Competitions (Meads Cup and Lochore Cup), effectively NZ’s 3rd and 4th division of provincial rugby, finished 3rd last year in Meads Cup
                All home games played in Masterton
                A new CEO last month, he starts with a Union debt of approx $100,000 – hard to get out of that one.

                *Pahiatua is Bush country – from 1890 -; Wairarapa and Bush merged in 1971

            • April 5th 2013 @ 5:01pm
              Nostradamus said | April 5th 2013 @ 5:01pm | ! Report

              Crusaders only played outside Cchurch when the stadium was broken…Doubt they will do it this year

    • Roar Guru

      April 4th 2013 @ 1:24pm
      AlBo said | April 4th 2013 @ 1:24pm | ! Report

      This is a great article with a wonderful idea.

      I would say that games against other Australian teams should be played outside of Sydney. As long as it’s not too far south when we’re playing the Brumbies, or too far north when playing the Qlders. I mean we would still want a home ground advantage.

      Newcastle, Gosford, Wollongong… all good options.

      • April 4th 2013 @ 1:30pm
        Shop said | April 4th 2013 @ 1:30pm | ! Report

        Yeah, a game in Queanbeyan would probably defeat the purpose.

      • April 4th 2013 @ 3:40pm
        Chris said | April 4th 2013 @ 3:40pm | ! Report

        Everything Goulburn or South is officially Brumbies territory anyway.

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