Community group lobbies for Wests to be based in Campbelltown

Good old days: Ian Schubert in a 1987 match at Orana Park (now Campbelltown Sports Stadium) between Wests Magpies and Cronulla Sharks. Picture: Philip Wayne Lock
Good old days: Ian Schubert in a 1987 match at Orana Park (now Campbelltown Sports Stadium) between Wests Magpies and Cronulla Sharks. Picture: Philip Wayne Lock

A group of passionate rugby league fans is lobbying the NRL to split the Wests Tigers joint venture by the 2022 season.

A new community group called Bring Back the Magpies has launched a campaign and petition to see the Wests Magpies reinstated in the competition as a lone club based out of Campbelltown.

They believe a locally-based NRL team would be a great success given the unprecedented growth in the Macarthur area.

Paul Taylor, one of the organisers of the group, said the financial troubles plaguing the Balmain half of the joint venture was the primary motivator for the campaign.

“The people of Campbelltown are very annoyed at the situation the club is in,” he said.

“We only get three games a year at Campbelltown Stadium, while the rest of the home games are played at Leichhardt or ANZ Stadium.

“We should be splitting the joint venture and bringing back the Magpies.”

Mr Taylor said he believed the NRL and the Wests Tigers board felt the ‘Tiger’ brand was more viable than a ‘Magpies’ brand – something he strongly disagrees with.

He said the the call to reinstate the Magpies would be strengthened by an upcoming community event to be held at Campbelltown Bowling Club.

Bring Back the Magpies Day will be held on Saturday, February 16 from 11am, where people can learn more information about the campaign.

There will be a sausage sizzle, Pass the Ball competition and prizes for kids.

“We have truckies, musicians, authors, retirees and bank managers among our members, so it is hardly a matter of just the old fibro brigade,” Mr Taylor said.

“If this is a competition that exists solely because of the fans, then the fans need to be listedn to and have their concerns addressed.

“The arguments we have heard so far against our proposal are really no more than poorly thought out, knee-jerk excuses.

“We’re fed-up with being classed as an inner-city club.”

Keep up to date with the progress of the campaign at facebook.com/groups/macarthurmagpies.

Wests Tigers did not reply to a request for comment.