NRL: They’re missing a massive chunk of their salary cap, and they can hardly afford to lose a single game. But Parramatta have done it again, this time producing the goods against South Sydney.
THE Wests Tigers will transform their dilapidated Concord Oval training base into a state of the art $27 million centre of excellence.
Long considered to have the worst facilities of any NRL club, the Tigers plan to reconstruct Concord Oval into a multipurpose elite sporting and community centre by midway through 2018.
Work is expected to start on the project — which The Sunday Telegraph has obtained exclusive details of — next June and will see a high performance training centre established on the Parramatta Road side of Concord Oval.
The existing grandstand and dressing sheds, which also house Tigers football and administration staff, will be pulled down.
Other elements of the plan include;
— Administration officers for Wests Tigers staff and other sporting organisations
— Aquatic recovery and hydrotherapy pools
— Multimedia studio
— Classrooms and lecture facilities
— Wests Tigers retail shop
— Community cafe and athlete dining facilities
— Multi-sport community facilities and commercial leasing zones.
Wests Tigers chief executive Justin Pascoe described the current setup at Concord Oval as “substandard to an elite professional environment”.
“If I was a player and I was looking at some of our competitor’s facilities and looking at our current facility I would be second guessing whether or not I am going to be improving my football,” Pascoe said.
“That’s an outsider’s view looking in. Once you become part of our fabric we hope to make sure that the player is developing better than at any other place. If you’re a young kid aspiring to be an elite athlete and you’re looking at our facilities versing others it would be a deciding factor that would be negative to us.”
The Tigers had earmarked Liverpool as their permanent training base as the state government’s WestConnex project was to have impacted Concord Oval.
The Tigers will lobby local, state and federal governments to assist with funding and are confident they will be a beneficiary of the state government’s pledge to match dollar for dollar any club looking to build a centre of excellence.
“This is an opportunity for us to create a legacy for this organisation moving forward,” Pascoe said. “It takes what currently is an environment which is probably from the outside in bricks and mortar not conducive to an elite environment.
“It will allow us to attract and retain talent — on and off the field. (Concord) is part of our geographical footprint. It’s about attracting players and staff to an area which is pretty central to Sydney.
“Commercially it sets up this organisation for the future. Funding is always challenging with these projects but I’m comfortable with what we are proposing.”
Balmain’s junior representative teams are also expected to use Concord as their training and administration base.
Pascoe is no stranger to developing multi-million dollar training projects having been part of the AFL’s Western Bulldogs revamped training base and more recently Penrith’s $22 million training facility.
“This will define how we are represented in the market place and how we want to be represented to the playing group,” Pascoe said. “It’s the thing that drives me on a day-to-day basis.”