Sporting codes eye off Jubilee Oval

In demand: The St George Illawarra Dragons are not the only club interested in using Jubilee Oval. Picture: John Veage
In demand: The St George Illawarra Dragons are not the only club interested in using Jubilee Oval. Picture: John Veage

Georges River Council is hoping an influx of interest in Jubilee Oval at Kogarah will help recoup some of the costs in managing the stadium.

The council overtook the management of the oval after the lease with the St George Illawarra Dragons ended in February.

In November, council undertook a review of the management options for the oval after the NRL club decided not to continue its lease which had given them sole use and management of the oval since 1989.

Council considered three options including continuing with existing arrangements, entering into a contract with Venues NSW or to take over the management themselves.

Council decided to go with the latter option after Venues NSW declined to take on the project.

It will be a significant investment for council with maintenance, utilities and staff costs alone costing around $900,000 a year.

The council is now in negotiations with the Dragons for a longer commitment after approving the club to play five games at the stadium during the 2017 season.

The decision has opened doors for other local sporting codes including the recent match between St George City and Sydney FC.

In fact football could find a new home at the oval with St George City previously expressing interest in playing their home games and finals there.

The potential A-League franchise, with the working title of Southern Expansion, has also expressed interest in playing games in Kogarah.

St George Football Association general manager Craig Kiely said it would be a very important part of any possible new A-League club for the region that games would be played out of Jubilee. 

“We pushed for and were very clear on that,” Mr Kiely said. “Through our dialogue with Georges River Council we’ve been able to unlock the stadium for local football recently. We’ve already engaged the council about hosting local football finals there later this year.

“It’s an absolute no-brainer for us really. To have only four or five rugby league matches at a great community asset that is underutilised… we want more content for football and would love to see that for a professional A-League and W-League club but also our NPL clubs and local football. 

“An important thing is when you factor in a number of home matches for an A-League club, if the league expands to 12 or 14 teams you might end up getting four or five A-League games, maybe three or four W-League games. There’s an extra eight or nine matches in our region across the season.”

Georges River Council Administrator John Rayner said they were looking at all options.

“Council has received expressions of interest from several groups, including the St George District Football Association to use the venue for their finals series,’’ he said.

“There have also been expressions of interest received from elite-level clubs and national representative teams across various codes to use UOW Jubilee Oval for training.’’

He said council would also seek interest in the rooms and facilities within the grandstand.