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(@tigertownsfs)
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The odds that HBG blow up the reforms seems vanishing small. They own this asset, doing basic things right and it will be worth many tens of millions of dollars.


   
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Garry
(@garry)
Wests Tigers Development Player Admin
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Posted by: @tigertownsfs

The odds that HBG blow up the reforms seems vanishing small. They own this asset, doing basic things right and it will be worth many tens of millions of dollars.

If Gary Barnier is concerned enough to raise it then I'm worried.

 

In memory of Geoff Chisholm (1965-2022)


   
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(@helmesy)
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Posted by: @snake

@helmesy He has stated that if the review is not ratified he will be leaving , does not mean he is going to Souths but he knows where the future lies if it review is canned .If this happens the HBG has put the death knell on the club . IMO the club moves forward into a new era that all and sundry can see attainable or the same people that have driven the club into the ground for a decade finally realise there aspirations to finally destroy what is left of any resemblance of the foundation clubs . This moment in time of the Weststigers  will be looked upon as the most important  moment in the clubs history !Do not worry about Leichhardt oval no one will have a club to support !

Well said 👍

 

Wests Tigers Podcast - Talking everything Wests Tigers!


   
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(@helmesy)
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Posted by: @garry

Posted by: @tigertownsfs

The odds that HBG blow up the reforms seems vanishing small. They own this asset, doing basic things right and it will be worth many tens of millions of dollars.

If Gary Barnier is concerned enough to raise it then I'm worried.

 

I think Gary has seen what’s under the bonnet and isn’t impressed.

Fact is, we are hampered by Wests people. I would say the same if it were Balmain people (as has happened in the past).

The HBG Chair and her deputy are Magpies through and through.

We need Wests Tigers people in these key positions and for the relics of the past to leave our club alone.

 

Wests Tigers Podcast - Talking everything Wests Tigers!


   
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CanberraTiger
(@canberratiger)
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Might be a polarising opinion but they need to make everything Wests Tigers. No Magpies or Balmain. Rip off the band aid. Sorry to the guys clinging to the heritage but it has always caused major division and held the club back.


   
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(@jedi-tiger)
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Posted by: @canberratiger

Might be a polarising opinion but they need to make everything Wests Tigers. No Magpies or Balmain. Rip off the band aid. Sorry to the guys clinging to the heritage but it has always caused major division and held the club back.

agree it all needs to be wests tigers

Nsw cup needs to be branded wests tigers 

I tend to think this is some of the hold up with HBG hence the chairman change 

 


   
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(@snake)
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@jedi-tiger This is fact .. the Magpie fanatics are just that. I always thought that this would be a sticking point . I suppose with negotiations you do not get everything you want especially with this point. I see the reserve grade situation from both sides , I personally think it should be Weststigers but can see that the owners what it the Magpies . The fanatics have a major say here make no mistake you are dealing with people that would prefer nothing than lose there Magpies I know a few ! There Will have to be a compromise !


   
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(@tigertownsfs)
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Reserve grade as magpies is dumb. If that’s the dumbest thing they do then it doesn’t bother me. If they lose Richo though there will be hell to pay. In 3 months the guy has addressed many of the sacred cows that have held this club back. 


   
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(@snake)
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@tigertownsfs We have to be impressed with Richo and Benji they have ignited a real  revitalised supporter engagement. Coming off 2 wooden spoons and selling out 2 home grounds already is quite a feat . A couple of wins help but there is certainly other variables at work here , what a tragedy it would be that self interest of the few destroy it for the all !

This post was modified 2 months ago by Snake

   
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(@jedi-tiger)
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Posted by: @snake

@jedi-tiger This is fact .. the Magpie fanatics are just that. I always thought that this would be a sticking point . I suppose with negotiations you do not get everything you want especially with this point. I see the reserve grade situation from both sides , I personally think it should be Weststigers but can see that the owners what it the Magpies . The fanatics have a major say here make no mistake you are dealing with people that would prefer nothing than lose there Magpies I know a few ! There Will have to be a compromise !

the old blazer brigade strikes again then, so much for club unity

 


   
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(@snake)
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@jedi-tiger Unfortunately it runs a bit deeper than that, I agree though . Its more than a couple of blazer wearers .. go to Lidcombe oval and you will get the message of where its at ,these people wear that magpie emblem with pride and do not want to give it up ! There numbers are few but have a lot of sway .. it will not be easy .


   
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(@helmesy)
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Posted by: @snake

@jedi-tiger Unfortunately it runs a bit deeper than that, I agree though . Its more than a couple of blazer wearers .. go to Lidcombe oval and you will get the message of where its at ,these people wear that magpie emblem with pride and do not want to give it up ! There numbers are few but have a lot of sway .. it will not be easy .

You can’t let a small number of people dictate to the masses.

 

Wests Tigers Podcast - Talking everything Wests Tigers!


   
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(@helmesy)
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-DAY FOR RICHO AT WESTS

The new-look Wests Tigers board continue to deliberate on the future of interim chief executive Shane Richardson after the parties met this week to talk about a long-term deal.

Richardson’s six-month contract is inching towards an end after his appointment last December. The Tigers board have been made aware of rumours that a potential position for Richardson to return to South Sydney as head of football is on the table.

With that move in the wings, an answer is expected sooner rather than later. However, there is yet to be a decision on former chief executive Justin Pascoe’s long-term successor.

It's A Funny Game. Art: Boo Bailey
It's A Funny Game. Art: Boo Bailey
Despite the interest from South Sydney – where Richardson shares a close relationship with co-owner Russell Crowe – Richardson has made it clear he wants to remain in his current role permanently.

Complicating matters is that the people who helped parachute him into the position and pushed for the removal of Pascoe and ex-chair Lee Hagipantelis last December have had their power significantly dented.

Tony Andreacchio drove the controversial review but lost the chairmanship of majority shareholder the Holman Barnes Group in March.

Holman Barnes Group chairperson Julie Romero now holds significant sway despite Barry O’Farrell once again joining the Tigers as chairman. O’Farrell’s spot too is only temporary as the club works towards completing its governance review with no guarantee that he will be in the job long-term.

HOW TIGERS PLAN TO REPEL STEFANO RAIDS

Interim chief executive Shane Richardson has outlined his plans to make Stefano Utoikamanu a Wests Tiger for life by convincing the powerful prop that the club has turned over a new leaf.

Richardson stepped into the Tigers’ hot-seat in January and one of his first orders of business was to sit down with Utoikamanu’s manager, Daniel O’Loughlin.

It was a sign of how much the Tigers value Utoikamanu and how much they hope he will be part of their future as he weighs up whether to recommit to the club.

In-demand Tigers prop Stefano Utoikamanu. Picture: Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images
In-demand Tigers prop Stefano Utoikamanu. Picture: Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images
The Tiger are desperate to keep the in-form prop but Richardson won’t be rushing anything.

He wants to give Utoikamanu time and space to fall in love with the club again.

“I want him to settle at the club, to see that we have changed under Benji (Marshall) and the club itself has changed,” Richardson said.

“So there is a feeling … that this is a different club and a club you want to be at. I will sit down with Daniel over the next period of time.

“I haven’t made arrangements yet but I know Daniel well – we will work our way through it from there and hopefully he stays.”

Utoikamanu has a clause in his contract that allows him to leave at the end of the season if the Tigers miss the top eight. The only way that clause is voided is if Utoikamanu plays two games for NSW in this year’s Origin series. The way he is going, there is every chance that may come to fruition. If it does, a handful of rival clubs will be devastated.

The conga line of clubs waiting to speak to Utoikamanu has lengthened this week following revelations that James Fisher-Harris will leave Penrith at the end of the season.

Utoikamanu is believed to be on Penrith’s wishlist.

Asked whether the Tigers would consider allowing Utoikamanu to go to market now, which would at least give the Tigers an opportunity to understand what they were up against.

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Richardson said: “We’re working on the basis we want him to stay so why would we allow him to explore things.

“The finals clause, in that in fact is not until the finals. Let it settle down, let Stefano settle, see how he goes with Origin.

“If he makes the Origin side we will go from there. When I started with the club in January, Daniel was the first manager I met.

“He knows my stance on it and I know his.”

Richardson believes Utoikamanu wants to stay, although the only way they can truly end any doubt is by winning games.

“I am more than confident that he will stay with us,” Richardson said.

“He has a great attitude, he has a great relationship with Benji, he always has a smile on his face. It will get down to once I sit down with Daniel.

“Certainly he is happy here at the moment, he is playing good footy under Benji, he and Benji have a good relationship. Hopefully we sort it out so he can be a Tiger forever.”

Wests Tigers Podcast - Talking everything Wests Tigers!


   
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(@tigertownsfs)
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Can the NRL’s worst team finally turn itself around?

To say the Wests Tigers have underperformed over the past two decades would be an understatement. Shane Richardson has a plan to change the team’s fortunes.

Zoe SamiosBusiness reporter
Apr 24, 2024 – 5.00am
 

 

 

Long after the crowds are gone, and Leichhardt Oval has emptied, the rubbish that has accumulated is funnelled out of the ground through the VIP area.

The run-down facilities are the outward sign of Leichhardt Oval’s home team, the Wests Tigers, who trace their origins back to the very start of the NRL. They have been in total disarray for years.

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The new Wests Tigers chief executive, Shane Richardson, has turned around other NRL clubs in the past. Oscar Colman

It has been a long slide over two decades. The Wests Tigers – the result of an amalgamation between the Balmain Tigers and Western Suburbs Magpies in 1999 – last won a premiership in 2005.

They last made a finals series in 2011. And despite the support of serious corporate figures – billionaire developer Harry Triguboff is a supporter, as is International Olympic Committee vice-president John Coates – their administration has been poor.

The performance of the club last season, when the Wests Tigers sank to the bottom of the ladder for a second year in a row, was the final straw.

A review, conducted by former NRL chief financial officer Tony Crawford and businessman Gary Barnier, led to the dismissal of the entire board and the resignation of the club’s long-serving chief executive, Justin Pascoe.

And it revealed plenty of issues lurking under the surface, far from the poor recruitment, retention and coaching of players that most supporters blame for the Wests Tigers’ terrible performance on the field.

Cheap sponsorship deals, misleading membership figures, and the absence of a strategy to grow its fan base have made it difficult for the club to change its fortunes – the company posted a $2.2 million loss in its latest financial year.

Wests Tigers also have the lowest amount of membership and corporate revenue of the nine Sydney-based clubs.

Now it is down largely to one man to stop the slide – and reverse it.

Shane Richardson has been here before. The Queenslander ran South Sydney from 2004 to 2015, transforming the Rabbitohs, backed by Russell Crowe, James Packer and now Mike Cannon-Brookes – from a bottom-of-the-barrel club to premiership winners.

He made similar changes to the Penrith Panthers and Cronulla Sharks in the 1990s and early 2000s.

He comes with a no-frills – and sometimes divisive – attitude.

“Business people, they take their head off and put a pumpkin on. They think they know all about running a sports organisation,” he says.

“They want to become the players’ mates. I don’t want to ever be a player’s mate. I don’t want to go to their funerals. But I want their respect.

“These people think you should ingratiate yourself with the players and invite them to parties.”

The path back to the top is fraught. Richardson has some grand plans. He wants to move stadiums, find new sponsors and rebuild the fan base – by making a pivot away from Leichhardt, and the storied home of the Balmain Tigers – toward the booming suburbs in Sydney’s south-west.

He is not afraid to burn some bridges to go there.

Las Vegas was a f---ing disaster, and it was a party trip for everybody,” Richardson says of the NRL’s big growth plan. “I don’t want to go. At the end of the day, it’s about the business [of the club]. I’m all about rugby league and … those little Christmas cakes don’t make any difference to the game at all.”


Former NRL chief executive David Gallop remembers the last time the Wests Tigers won the premiership.

“I remember going back to Balmain and the euphoria was next level,” he says. “It was a real-life example of the importance of the salary cap and our key strategy of running an even competition.”

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The Wests Tigers in 2005 after winning the NRL Grand Final against the Cowboys. Craig Golding

Like similar measures in other games, the NRL’s salary cap is meant to spread out the playing talent to ensure that the wealthiest clubs don’t monopolise the competition. It is meant to keep the game embedded in the community.

The club has had seven coaches since sacking premier-winning coach Tim Sheens, with its former star player Benji Marshall taking over last year.

Whether it is poor performance, or something else, Wests Tigers’ membership – its connection to its local community – has slumped.

Last year, the club claimed to have 20,000 members. After Richardson arrived, he forced the club to correct the record. That figure included thousands of juniors who don’t contribute any income to the club.

The real number of paying members was just 8807 – a smaller figure than 2015.

Membership revenue has barely moved in a decade. In 2015, the Wests Tigers made $1.1 million from 9347 members. Last year, despite reporting memberships of 20,119, it made $1.4 million.

“It’s not about rugby league,” Richardson says. “What does this brand stand for? The brand stands for community. You don’t buy a membership to get a ticket to sit down, it’s because you want to be part of the family.”

But membership also brings in much-needed funding. Richardson wants the number of paying members to reach 13,000 by 2025.

To achieve this, he wants to a build sophisticated database of everyone from members to anyone who has attended a match or bought Wests Tigers merchandise.

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Richardson says there are only 15,000 in Wests Tigers’ database, compared to nearly 400,000 at the South Sydney Rabbitohs. That’s where Shaun Mielekamp, the former chief executive of the Central Coast Mariners and a former Rabbitohs executive, comes in. He’s the new general manager of community.

“Everyone who connects with the club – whether they come to a game, have gone to a community clinic, bought merchandise or entered a competition, we need to capture the data and have the right conversation,” Mielekamp says. “It’s as simple as that.”

Getting new members requires meeting new people. Mielekamp is responsible for building a fan base in Sydney’s south, where the population is booming, a strategy that began with the opening of new headquarters in Campbelltown this month.

“It’s about making a real difference in the community. That way memberships are growing … regardless of team performance,” he says. “It is troops on the ground. It’s literally every kid that shakes a hand, looks at a player, and gets inspired to be better in life.”

If Mielekamp and Richardson are successful, it will go some way to repairing the Wests Tigers’ struggling finances.

Like most clubs, it mainly makes money through grants provided by the NRL, and the proceeds of broadcast deals with Foxtel and Nine Entertainment, the owner of The Australian Financial Review.

And while it earns revenue from corporate sponsors, it remains reliant on funding from Wests Ashfield Leagues Club, which is majority-owned by Holman Barnes Group.

Arguably this is Richardson’s biggest task – improving sponsorship revenue, so the club is not reliant on its shareholders for funding.

“The business side – that was a challenge,” Mr Richardson says. “We weren’t telling the truth about where our membership was, our corporate [revenue] was the lowest level of anybody in Sydney.

“We had no plans about where we were going in the [Sydney] south-west … we just lacked direction.”

According to the Tigers’ strategic plan, released to members this month, Richardson plans to grow membership revenue from $1.3 million in 2023 to $2.2 million by the end of next year, and sponsorship revenue from $6.6 million to $8.5 million.

He is forecasting a $200,000 loss for 2025, compared to a $2.2 million loss in the 12 months to the end of October.

“We’ve been losing money, which is something I don’t want to do,” Richardson says. “I want us to run on our own two feet. The corporate sponsorship would be 40 per cent of what Souths do.”

Richardson says there is also already interest from at least two new corporate sponsors prepared to pay market prices to have their brands on the Wests Tigers’ jersey.

Brydens Lawyers, run by the club’s former chairman, Lee Hagipantelis, is the $1 million-a-year jersey sponsor. The deal ends this season, but Brydens has last right of refusal.

“We’ve got two sponsors interested in coming on … we’ve gone to the marketplace and upgraded all of our sponsorship to the level that it should be,” Richardson says. “You can’t just accept that if you’ve gone terrible, then business is terrible.”

Coates, a long-time Wests Tigers supporter and donor, believes Richardson is the kind of executive the club needs.

“I’ve only met him a few times … but he impresses me,” he says. “What I like is the emphasis on producing our own players. We have produced and lost players … but there is massive potential in south-west Sydney. It’s a region that should be tapped.”


Leichhardt Oval was the ground where, in April 1957, the first rugby league match was broadcast – a 12-10 win to the Balmain Tigers over Canterbury Bankstown.

In the 1970s, long before State of Origin, Leichhardt was hosting showdowns between NSW and Queensland.

Now, despite it being their home ground, the Wests Tigers barely play there. This season, only five of 12 home games will be played there, with the rest at Campbelltown Stadium and Western Sydney stadium, because of concerns about the facilities.

Richardson is threatening to pull Wests Tigers from Leichhardt, their spiritual home, altogether, if the NSW government doesn’t hand over some funding that has otherwise been earmarked for a stadium upgrade in Penrith.

He has made, and carried out, similar threats before, relocated South Sydney’s home games from Allianz Stadium at Moore Park to Accor Stadium at Sydney Olympic park.

“If you look at the great clubs, they have great stadiums. We are playing at broken down Leichhardt ... we need to play bigger stadiums to grow our crowds and our corporate side,” he says.

Coates, who was involved in the development of Campbelltown Stadium and Olympic Stadium, knows what needs to be done.

“My heart says Leichhardt,” he says. “But the future is in the south-west, and that’s where we’ve got to take the game.”

Those grand plans face one major hurdle. Richardson’s future. The Wests Tigers chief executive is only on a six-month contract, technically employed by another company, and in demand.

“Richo brings an unparalleled track record of building footy clubs and managing stakeholders like player agents, coaching staff, and the roster,” Gallop says.

“The growth corridor of Campbelltown-Macarthur [in Sydney’s south-west] is such a great opportunity for the future of the club while maintaining the important historical links to Balmain.”

While Richardson says he’s still discussing an extension of his contract, other clubs are circling. The Rabbitohs, for one, want him back, according to The Sydney Morning Herald.

If Richardson leaves, it would almost certainly mean the end of the Wests Tigers’ long-term strategy.

Wests Ashfield own 75 per cent of the club, and Balmain own the rest, but there has been plenty of animosity on the board. Pascoe, the former chief executive, says he had drafted his resignation long before the review that led to his exit because he felt hamstrung by the club’s board.

As part of the review, Wests Ashfield agreed there should be three independent directors. Who they are hasn’t been decided.

“They need to appoint the additional three independent directors,” Coates says. “Governance is a taken. You have to have a board that’s independent, particularly with all these stakeholders.”

Richardson wants to know who is he answerable to before committing to three more years. If that’s not an option, he wants a clause in place that allows him to quit if he doesn’t get autonomy.

“I’m not putting my name on the line if they’re not going appoint an independent board. Any contract I sign is about true corporate governance,” he says.

Last weekend, the Wests Tigers lost for the fourth time in six games, this time to the Penrith Panthers. The week before, the club lost to St George Illawarra Dragons in what Marshall described as the team’s worst performance of the season.

For Richardson, at least, the on-field performance is improving. “[On-field] was the easy part,” he says. “This is the hard part.


   
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(@helmesy)
Wests Tigers Development Player Admin
Joined: 3 years ago
Posts: 4154
 

That is quite an interesting read. Clearly Richardson is getting impatient with the HBG and it appears there’s a real chance he won’t stay.

This is the most important moment in Wests Tigers history. 

Wests Tigers Podcast - Talking everything Wests Tigers!


   
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