THE Wests Tigers want to make Tamworth their long-term regional home, hinting at a huge deal to bring more games to the country music capital.
A deal is currently being negotiated by the Sydney-based National Rugby League (NRL) club, council and Wests Entertainment to get more premiership games into town.
The Tigers chief executive officer Justin Pascoe said the 2018 fixture was a “great success” and his club was committed to having a “long-term presence” in Tamworth.
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“We want to make sure that any agreement that we come to is long-term, our overall aim is to have a positive impact on the community and that doesn’t happen overnight,” Mr Pascoe told The Leader.
“Our intent is to make Tamworth a regional home for Wests Tigers and we are working diligently with Wests Tamworth Leagues Club and the Council to make this viable for all parties.”
The April clash against the Newcastle Knights saw a sell-out crowd at Scully Park, with more than 10,000 people from Tamworth and abroad packing the hill and grandstands.
It left an indelible mark on the club as its boss confirmed the club wants to make many return trips to Tamworth and Mr Pascoe said it wasn’t concerned about the finances.
“We need to be looking at a long-term association so that we entrench ourselves in the community and make a positive impact,” Mr Pascoe said.
He said the feedback from all parties was the game was great success, bringing an influx of tourists to town.
“This is not just a monetary thing for us, it’s about engaging with the community working diligently with all parties to put together a long term association that meets everyone’s desired outcomes,” he said.
When he was in town for the Tigers’ historic clash, Mr Pascoe issued a challenge to all of the NRL’s club to take games into regional areas and said it should be a responsibility to do so.
In a written statement, Tamworth mayor Col Murray said council’s $20,000 investment in the game was returned ten-fold.
“Council was always confident this event would be a great success which is why we chose to contribute financially via a $20,000 sponsorship,” he said.
“The NRL’s strategy to bring competition games to regional centres is to be applauded, as are the West Tigers and the Wests Entertainment Group for their exceptional delivery of game day activities.
“The positive coverage of the game saw Council’s investment returned ten-fold in publicity for Destination Tamworth and we welcome the opportunity to consider any future proposals to bring more NRL games to the region.
“Whilst ever there is a strong economic case for the Region, Council will always consider events of this nature”.
Wests Leagues Club Chief Exectuive Officer Rod Laing was contacted for comment.