There was a carnival atmosphere at Campbelltown yesterday when Wests Tigers hosted Manly Sea Eagles.
Three games of footy on a Sunday afternoon with clear blue skies had the fans all smiles when they entered the wonderful sporting facility that is Campbelltown Sports Stadium.
It really felt good to be back there for some footy and a little bit of community bonding as well.
And despite the 30-4 defeat the fans were still happy afterwards as they headed to Wests Leagues for a meal or a beer.
Parents stayed behind so the little ones could run on to the field, just like the did back in the 1980s when the Western Suburbs Magpies made Campbelltown and outer South Western Sydney their home.
And some stayed back to listen to Lachie Gill, The Voice 2022 winner, perform after the game.
But while there was a touch of retro in the air, the day smelled more like the future; a happy future where the Wests Tigers make this region their long term home – as was the original plan when they merged with Balmain in 2000.
It seems to me that if that happens it will be the only way the state government can come good with the money needed to redevelop Campbelltown Stadium into a 21st century facility.
Right now, why would they bother when the Tigers play just three games here every season.
But yesterday, when more than 10,000 people went through the gates, showed the potential that’s here.
And so many of them were youngsters, which augurs well for the future.
But it was also pleasing to see so many people wearing old fashioned Balmain Tigers jumpers, and who were with people wearing Western Suburbs Magpies retro jerseys.
The club says that it is in a good financial position after a few tough years and can spend big on the football side of things.
Now on the hunt for a new coach, it’s got to be all about the future whatever the Wests Tigers do.
Including going public about next year and where the footy team will be based.
In the interest of transparency, the club have to reveal what their plans are sooner rather than later.
Everyone knows that long term success can only come from having one home and that home cannot be in the inner city.
As for the footy, well, Wests Tigers were extremely competitive in the first half.
If it wasn’t for a disallowed try they would have gone to the sheds leading on the scoreboard.
Returning for the second half 6-4 behind, nothing went right for our boys, who tried hard, but it wasn’t to be.
Having to play with 12 men after Brent Naden was sent off for a spear tackle, the task in front of them was just too much and Manly just had too much class.
However the final score of 30-4 did not reflect the effort from the home side.
The beauty of footy is that there’s always next week so interim coach Brett Kimmorely may get his first win when Wests Tigers tackle the Bulldogs at Parramatta next Sunday.