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Is The Future Of Leichhardt Oval & Belmore In Jeopardy?

With the news midweek that the Wests Tigers may be forced out of Leichhardt Oval due to safety issues, the panel on Saturday Scrum questioned if the game can continue playing out of old suburban grounds.

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The Inner West Council, which controls the stadium, have provided many occupational health and safety risk concerns which could force professional sports away from the venue by the end of 2025.

Clubs and fans have a special bond to their local grounds.

So much history and culture floods the streets of Kogarah, Brookvale, Penrith & Cronulla, yet stadiums such as Leichhardt Oval and Belmore Sports Ground have become increasingly underused as clubs make more money playing in bigger stadiums.

Though, for financial gain comes the eyesore of a smaller crowd of 15,000 in the enormous 85,000+ capacity Accor Stadium.

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Without council, government and private support, funds haven’t been provided to modernise these venues.

And as rugby league continues making progressive moves forward, are these historical stadiums viable as we enter a new era in the code?

The Saturday Scrum currently at the Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs v Gold Coast Titans at Belmore Sports Ground reviewed Sydney Morning Herald’s review of all NRL grounds.

And Michael Chammas gave the Dogs’ spiritual home a damning assessment.

“Unfortunately not very high”, said Chammas.

“It’s why they play here once or twice a year.

“It’s great to come back here but you can’t come every week.

“The fans pile in, they park kilometers away.

“Accor Stadium can feel soulless but this stadium has it’s place.

“And it’s playing once a year.”