It was a night of firsts at Campbelltown Sports Stadium on Saturday night.
NRL South Sydney Rabbitohs made their way down the M5 to play the club’s inaugural home game at the venue.
The trial match – a 22-16 loss against the Manly Sea Eagles – was also the first time former Wests Tigers skipper Robbie Farah turned out in a Souths jersey.
Only 2564 people attended the match, which was understandable given temperatures reached 45.4 degrees Celsius during the day.
Given the weather, Rabbitohs chief executive Blake Solly – a former St Gregorys Campbelltown student – told the Advertiser the club were buoyed by the attendance and the response from Macarthur-based fans.
“Obviously the weather was a real challenge and it made it difficult to market the game because there was uncertainty about whether it would be played or not,” he said.
“We were pretty confident we would have got about 5000 people if the weather wasn’t like it was, but we were really encouraged by the 2500 who attended.”
With the rugby league world cup throwing a spanner in the works for all NRL clubs’ pre-season schedules next year, Mr Solly said he was unable to confirm whether the Rabbitohs would return next year.
Though he was optimistic.
“We’ve spoken to (Campbelltown) Council and the stadium to see what can happen next year but it’s a bit too early to make those decisions,” he said.
Wests Tigers will take to the ground this Saturday night for the side’s final hit out before the regular season begins.
The game against the North Queensland Cowboys is expected to feature big names Aaron Woods, James Tedesco, Luke Brooks and Mitchell Moses, who all did not feature in Saturday’s trial game loss to the St George Illawarra Dragons.
Big name recruit Jamal Idris is also expected to see some game time after making his long awaited return to rugby league against the Dragons.
Both Rabbitohs and Wests Tigers bosses insist there is no turf war between the clubs when it comes to winning over Macarthur-based fans.
To purchase tickets for this Saturday’s Wests Tigers game visit premier.ticketek.com.au.