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Thread: ‘We had been walked over for years’: The rise and reprisal of Hamish McLennan

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    ‘We had been walked over for years’: The rise and reprisal of Hamish McLennan

    ‘We had been walked over for years’: The rise and reprisal of Hamish McLennan

    The Rugby Australia chairman has antagonised the NRL and New Zealand Rugby in a bid to “take a stand and fight for what’s ours”.

    By Emma Kemp
    June 25, 2023

    Leading from the front .... Hamish McLennan. Credit: Steven Siewert

    Hamish McLennan has never watched Succession. “I know, I know,” he says. “Maybe I should.” This feels mildly disappointing. Does he not realise there are parallels to be drawn? That McLennan has spent his entire professional life in exactly that kind of cut-throat environment? That he has even worked directly for the protagonist on which most viewers believe the series to be based? The obvious caveat here is that Logan Roy is dead while Rupert Murdoch remains very much alive (at 92, Rupert is just entering the second half of his life).

    That last fact is perhaps the reason McLennan is willing to say very little about the Murdochs - not on the record, at least. “On the record, I’d say both Lachlan and Rupert, uh … ” he pauses for an eternity, before adding, “have big, big visions, and they’re prepared to back those visions with long-term investments.”

    McLennan, who was appointed in 2020, has completely reshaped how Australian rugby is viewed.Credit: Steven Siewert

    I am told that if I use that quote then I must also use the next one, “which is important”, he continues. “Lachlan’s investment in realestate.com, which I’ve chaired for 11 years, should be regarded as one of the best investments News Corp has ever made. Because it’s worth, you know, initially … ” and I cannot finish that sentence because we are once again off the record.

    This is how the conversation flows. On the record, off the record, back on again. McLennan, broad-shouldered and besuited, is an artful operator. He knows what he wants to tell the public and what he does not. He offers me the chance to send him back his quotes later, if I like, to “make them stronger”. One senses he controls much of his message via backgrounding. This is not a good thing or a bad thing, it is just a thing. It is also a bit of a surprising thing given that, as chair of Rugby Australia, his voice is loud and literally everywhere.

    During the past few months the 57-year-old has been particularly active, lobbing hand grenades at New Zealand Rugby and goading the NRL. League scrums are “lame”, he casually noted, its players are not very good at spelling and Peter V’landys (“Peter who?”) is having a “squeal” because rugby is raiding his talent.

    So frequently does McLennan contribute to the media circus he has more than once been derided as a tiresome rent-a-quote. The counterpoint to that perspective is that any publicity is good publicity, especially when rugby in this country has teetered so close to oblivion. And besides, McLennan’s public extemporaneity is at odds with his in-person temperament which - in present company, at least - is so considered he could be dusting fossils. Is everything which comes out of his mouth deliberate?

    “Oh, absolutely,” he says. “A lot of what I’ve said about rugby league is tongue in cheek, but it’s been fed back on numerous occasions - even from senior NRL figures - that they love the banter. And I think that banter is good for our sport. We’ve been steamrolled by far more aggressive and savvy players, so we’ve just got to stand up for what we believe in and be conscious that we’ve got a good story to tell.

    “I’ve met Peter [V’landys] once or twice and he’s a smart guy. He, too, knows exactly what he’s doing. There are channels that are open, I believe, between both organisations, but all is fair in love and war.”

    And war is the fun part, isn’t it? It is well documented that McLennan, known widely as ‘The Hammer’ for reasons still in question, has a penchant for throwing the cat among the pigeons. He will also swing said cat where there is no room to do so. And, if he really must prove a point, might send it onto a field, a tiny Steeden between its paws, to feed one of those lame league scrums.

    It was like watching your child running for a plate-glass window and needing to jump in and intervene.
    -- Hamish McLennan

    The media and advertising giant has not always won friends but he has certainly influenced people, having been variously described as “relentless” (advertising guru and former Ten senior executive Russel Howcroft), “ruthless” (Wallabies great Matt Burke) and “an agent of change” (former advertising executive Alex Hamill). It would be impossible to argue he is not the latter.

    Since replacing former Australian captain Paul McLean in June 2020 - at the height of COVID-19 - McLennan has jolted the code out of near-insolvency, grown the broadcast pie with Nine and Stan and won hosting rights for the 2027 men’s and 2029 women’s World Cups, with a lucrative British and Irish Lions tour also due the year after next. He has also sacked a Wallabies coach and hired another, and lost a chief executive (more on that later).

    In advertising parlance, he brought brand awareness, examined his target market and sought to hit some ambitious KPIs. It has involved consistent lobbying of federal and state governments and, perhaps more significantly, the pursuit of potentially risky private-equity investment (“on the record, had the code been in better shape, I would prefer not to do it”).

    “At the time when I stepped into rugby a lot of people said, ‘why are you - or why is the board - so hands-on?’ But it was like watching your child running for a plate-glass window and needing to jump in and intervene,” he says.

    “I reckon we were a week away from going under - we were openly canvassing insolvency scenarios and turning the game from professional to amateur, which is just extraordinary. We didn’t have a broadcast deal for the following year, we’d lost Qantas as a front-of-jersey sponsor and debts were piling up left, right and centre.

    “Rugby had become too passive and entitled, and had taken the game for granted, in my opinion. We had been walked over for years and we needed to take a stand and fight for what’s ours. We really believe in what rugby has to offer - boys and girls, men and women. It’s a wonderful global game, and yet no one was really advocating a position for it.”

    That includes an escalation in aggressive posturing towards New Zealand, Australia’s on-field rivals who have also traditionally wielded more power off it. McLennan’s board has put its foot down, especially on the matter of retaining struggling Super Rugby franchises the Western Force and Melbourne Rebels.

    Rugby had become too passive and entitled, and had taken the game for granted, in my opinion.
    -- Hamish McLennan

    “The sentiment within here was that we were bullied [by New Zealand] for many years,” McLennan says. “I don’t think their interests have been aligned with ours in the past, which is why we’ve stood up to them.

    “[Former New Zealand Rugby chair] Brent Impey wanted to cut our professional teams to two or three teams. The sheer arrogance of what they wanted and the way they told us certainly incensed me. I know certain quarters didn’t like the aggressive stance we took, but it was the right thing for our code.”

    If rugby is human life as we know it, then McLennan might be Russell Casse from Independence Day, accelerating a fighter jet straight into the mothership, blowing it up and saving the world. Like Casse, McLennan is also on high alert for dangerous foreign entities (read: New Zealand). “They’ve been studying us for years, finding out our weaknesses,” you can almost hear him spit across the Tasman. “We’ve gotta stop ’em, they’re gonna kill us all!”

    The key difference here is that McLennan is not an alcoholic Vietnam War veteran and has never been kidnapped by aliens. But he has done some kidnapping himself, namely in the form of Joseph Suaalii, the prodigious Sydney Roosters teenager lured from the NRL back to the game he played at school. That antagonistic move angered numerous league types, but in the process also rendered rugby the most relevant it has been since perhaps the days of John O’Neill, who was also willing to stick his head above the parapet in defence of his sport.

    Rugby-bound Roosters star Joseph Suaalii.Credit: Getty

    The Suaalii deal, which will have the 19-year-old join the Waratahs at the end of 2024, cost RA a reported $5 million. It has been praised by many as a coup and criticised by others as a waste of money which could have been better used to prop up the code’s chronically under-funded grassroots. For McLennan, Suaalii is “reassuringly expensive”, a calculated investment set to yield substantial returns, especially as a marketable face ahead of the 2027 World Cup.

    “He’ll sell out stadiums,” he says. “He’s like the Tom Brady of rugby. I acknowledge that the headline number seems a lot, but he’s a once-in-a-generation player and I think he will bring more fans back to rugby. He’s absolutely worth it.”

    As previously reported by this masthead, sources who spoke on condition of anonymity claimed that McLennan’s aggressive pursuit of and hefty financial outlay for Suaalii, along with RA’s strategy of chasing other rugby league players (he says several have been in touch), created a significant wedge between himself and Andy Marinos, who resigned as chief executive at the start of May and has since been replaced by 79-Test veteran Phil Waugh. Not that McLennan tells me this - not even off the record (though we do change lanes a bit on this subject).

    On the record he says this: “Andy has brought great experience and professionalism over the period that he was the CEO of Rugby Australia. I just think he felt that he’d achieved a lot - we went from a $29 million loss to an $8 million profit - and it was time for him to do something different.” When I call Marinos, he elects to say nothing at all.

    McLennan has far more to say about Eddie Jones, the prodigal son wooed back to Australia to coach the Wallabies and oversee the Wallaroos on a five-year contract covering both World Cups. Jones was in RA’s sights long before it replaced Dave Rennie in January, just nine months out from the World Cup. The courtship took place over a secret Portuguese chicken dinner at McLennan’s home last July, and initially spoke about him starting in 2024. When England’s governing body, the Rugby Football Union, stood Jones down last December, “it was like he dropped out of heaven into our lap”.

    “We couldn’t believe the RFU had let him go without a non-compete in his contract,” McLennan says. “I was always obsessed with getting Eddie back because our cultural and rugby DNA had been destroyed in recent years. As they say, a fish rots from the top, and so unless we got somebody of his calibre and understanding about our game it was going to be very hard for us to move the needle.”

    Andy Marinos and Hamish McLennan in 2021.Credit: Dominic Lorrimer

    A “disappointed” Rennie, in his departing statement, did not mention McLennan or Marinos but said he was leaving in the knowledge he had the backing of Wallabies players.

    McLennan says he had long admired Jones as a tough-but-fair coach with a wealth of knowledge, but the clincher was something less tangible; a rare “sort of twinkle in his eye”. One of the only other people he knows to possess this elusive quality is Sir Martin Sorrell, the veteran British advertising boss who made a 36-year-old McLennan chair and chief executive of Young & Rubicam Australia (he went on to become the agency’s global head).

    “Sir Martin had an incredible work ethic and really cared, but had high standards,” he says. “At times he was tough to work with, but he gave me some of the greatest support and breaks I’ve had in my career. He was a seven-day-a-week person but got incredible results. He was also loyal.

    “With Eddie, there’s that same desire to win. I wouldn’t go so far as to say it’s ‘life and death’, but it’s important. If you’re going to make your mark, you’ve got to be all in and committed - there are no second chances.”

    This nugget provides insight into McLennan’s leadership style. He is active and intense, and “my work rate is picking up the older I’m getting”. He runs on the adrenaline of crazy hours. The international nature of the many hats he wears (he is also vying to be World Rugby vice-chairman but “fatalistic” about his chances) means he is emailing, texting and calling late into the night and from early in the morning.

    I was always obsessed with getting Eddie back because our cultural and rugby DNA had been destroyed in recent years.
    - Hamish McLennan on Wallabies coach Eddie Jones

    A good night’s sleep is six hours but often much less. This jogs memories of Kevin Rudd running the country on three hours a night. “Well, I’m not sure about Kevin,” he says in a way which might have the more speculative among us reaching for his Murdoch ties. “But I’m lucky - it’s all I seem to need.” His personal and private lives are like blue and red Play-Doh mushed together. He operates in a land of purple playdough, and god help those who don’t like to mix their primary colours.

    He affectionately describes his wife of 39 years, Lucinda, as a “corporate widow”. She was the one who told her husband to take the RA job, to “shut up and stop complaining” about the state of the game and “do something about it”. His children Olivia, 25, and Ted, 24, are used to business talk around the dinner table and are ambitious themselves - Olivia works for Deloitte in Sydney and Ted is in private equity, about to move from New York to Los Angeles.

    McLennan’s face does light up, though, when he talks of escaping to the NSW south coast, where he has a property on acreage. And of watching the Bowral Blacks while visiting his parents in the Southern Highlands, which feels like a throwback to his days playing rugby as a student at Sydney’s Shore private school.

    Eddie Jones explains a drill to his Wallabies forwards on Coogee Beach this week.Credit: Getty

    Despite not having seen Succession, he does watch television. “Obviously I like sport,” he says. “But I’m fixated on biographies and documentaries.” What he says next feels both incongruent and equally indicative of his brain’s propensity for sudden gear shifts. “What’s happened to Ukraine is really sad,” he says. “How it will all end up, with Putin and so forth. It’s very current and it’s just sad to just see the destruction that’s happening there.”

    He mentions Oleksi Tsibko, Ukraine’s former national rugby captain who was killed fighting Russian forces. And then this: “I’d love the Wallabies to be the first international sporting team to play in Ukraine once the war finishes.” Has he discussed this with his board or the Wallabies? “No, I haven’t, but I’ve just been thinking that would be an amazing statement for our sport.”

    As a declaration it feels slightly Trumpian. Not in subject matter, but in the sense that it leaves a journalist unsure of whether they have just heard a new policy announcement or merely a verbalised thought bubble. But McLennan is, after all, the ideas man - others fill in the details.

    “Hopefully my judgment’s getting a little bit better,” he says. “I still make lots of mistakes, but I think the key for me is that it could all be all over in a heartbeat, so I want to do as much as I can across a range of different industries, and make a positive impact where possible.”

    McLennan has talked for an hour. He is talking and talking but suddenly it is 10.57am and he has an 11am meeting. In an instant he is up, folder in hand, striding away. I request his number for fact-checking purposes. He shouts it across the room and, just as he disappears around the corner adds, “feel free to send me any quotes”.

    https://www.smh.com.au/sport/rugby-u...21-p5die3.html

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  2. #2
    (Previously WFDS) WFDom's Avatar
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    Got a lot to say for a chairman!!!??

    Where’s the CEO?

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    Last edited by WFDom; 25-06-23 at 20:44.

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    Quote Originally Posted by WFDom View Post
    Got a lot to say for a chairman!!!??
    He has.

    While some of it misses the mark, e.g. League scrums are “lame” ... well, yeah they are lame, but his banter was also "lame" ... a fair amount of it is on the money.

    It's notable what he says here about NZ wanting Australian teams (read Force and Rebels) axed:

    “[Former New Zealand Rugby chair] Brent Impey wanted to cut our professional teams to two or three teams. The sheer arrogance of what they wanted and the way they told us certainly incensed me. I know certain quarters didn’t like the aggressive stance we took, but it was the right thing for our code.”

    Quote Originally Posted by WFDom View Post
    Where’s the CEO?
    The new one doesn't start until next week.

    I am wary of what Waugh will bring. Sydney-centrism is certainly a concern.

    However he has put out some early remarks. Will see if I can dig them up...

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    Here it is from the AFR:

    How Phil Waugh plans to save Australian rugby

    The Wallaby and former Waratahs centurion has big aspirations for the game’s future. But he needs a big cash injection to achieve his vision.

    Zoe Samios Business reporter
    Jun 23, 2023 – 5.00am

    Phil Waugh has a plan to save Australian rugby.

    It involves raising $250 million, winning hearts and minds in western Sydney, the heartland of the rival NRL, and getting the state and national teams winning games.

    Incoming Rugby Australia chief executive Phil Waugh. Louie Douvis

    And Waugh doesn’t just mean winning September’s Rugby World Cup although the former Wallaby and Waratahs centurion has views about that too.

    “If we can play with the discipline and the passion that [coach Eddie Jones] gets out of teams, then we could surprise everyone,” he says.

    Waugh takes the top job at Rugby Australia next month but one thing his turnaround plan might not involve is selling 20 per cent of the code’s broadcast rights to private equity.

    “People have got different experiences with private equity and sport,” Waugh says.

    “That’s why it’s going to be really important to look at what are the pros and cons of private equity ... there’s obviously the debt option as well, given the huge revenue events coming in. There’s no doubt we need to have more reserves to invest to get the outcomes that we’re after.”

    Waugh, 43, never thought he’d be leading the code he has long adored when he played on Sydney’s northern beaches as a child. A first-grade cricketer and rugby player at Shore School, Waugh’s long-term ambition was to play for the Wallabies. But after achieving that at just 21-years-old, he set his sights on a career in business.

    Under the leadership of then Commonwealth Bank executives Ross McEwan and Ian Narev, Waugh began to pave his own way in the world of banking. More than a decade later, Waugh finds himself in a very different position from the man who retired in 2011 with 79 caps for the national side and two Rugby World Cups to his name.

    Phil Waugh and son Arthur at Allianz Stadium earlier this month. James Brickwood

    He’s been married twice and now has four young boys of his own. His youngest, Arthur, attended the press conference where his new role was announced.

    “This is a really interesting role ... at a critical moment for the sport in the country, and I think I can add a lot of value,” he says.

    Waugh’s arrival at Rugby Australia comes at a pivotal time for the sport, which is bringing the British and Irish Lions Tour in 2025 and the Rugby World Cups in 2027 and 2029 to home soil.

    But most of rugby’s growth plans, including a multimillion-dollar contract with Roosters star Joseph Suaalii, require funding. This is because, until recently, Rugby Australia was not fiscally responsible.

    Financial stability first
    Rugby Australia made a $4.5 million operating loss in 2021 on revenue of $98.6 million, up from a $27 million operating loss in 2020. To take it to the next stage of growth, the governing body launched Project Aurora, a process that will attempt to raise about $250 million in capital from private investors.

    The process, run by investment bank Jefferies, will split Rugby Australia into two entities. RACo will pay player salaries and Rugby Australia’s management and corporate costs, while NewCo will be responsible for match-day costs as well as media, marketing and IT costs.

    The revenue stream for NewCo, which includes broadcast rights, sponsorship and licensing, will be split, with 80 per cent remaining with Rugby Australia and 20 per cent flowing to the private investor.

    Australian sport does not have a long history of private equity involvement. Archer Capital’s $137 million investment in Supercars, headed by former RA director Peter Wiggs, is widely considered a failure.

    Overseas, the model has traditionally revolved around a firm buying the commercial rights to a sport, such as CVC’s investment in the Six Nations, European professional rugby competitions and Spanish football competition, La Liga.

    Phil Waugh on the charge for the Waratahs in 2006. He retired in 2011 as NSW’s most capped player and captain. Getty

    But it doesn’t always work. Earlier this month, professional rugby team London Irish followed the Wasps and Worcester Warriors to become the third premiership club in the UK’s leading rugby union competition, Premiership, to fold despite a £200 million ($377 million) cash injection into the competition.

    Waugh says the code will decide on the model in the next few months. “We want to give our member unions and ourselves optionality. Once you model it up, it’ll become quite apparent what the best way forward is,” he says.

    Back to grassroots rugby
    Financial sustainability is Waugh’s main priority. But his other focus is getting state and national teams to win some matches, which requires an investment in grassroots rugby and events to drive participation.

    High on Waugh’s list of ambitions is the creation of a western Sydney rugby academy, which he says will aim to leverage the ties of Suaalii and other Pacific Island players who have grown up in the area.

    Rugby-bound Roosters star Joseph Suaalii. Getty

    “A lot of people have an affiliation with rugby, based in western Sydney, and I don’t think we capture that talent as best as we could,” he says.

    “We are committed to setting up and working with NSW Rugby and the other member unions to deliver an academy in western Sydney and bring the best talent through and secure them for rugby, rather than losing them to rugby league.”

    Also key to his vision is appealing to existing fans, many of whom are from Sydney’s lower north shore and eastern suburbs. “I love the concept of an old boys’ day at Allianz Stadium ... three back-to-back GPS games at Allianz Stadium from 11am to 5pm, and you just make it a festival,” he says.

    Over the past decade, fans have become frustrated with the performance of Australia’s Super Rugby teams and the men’s national team, the Wallabies.

    Waugh says the code has lost its sense of community, which has partly been let down by poor scheduling decisions. Club rugby and school matches are being played at the same time as national games at Allianz Stadium. Super Rugby games compete for eyeballs on television against the NRL and AFL.

    Waugh says Super Rugby needs to become a better competition.

    “It needs a rethink ... a committee or board focused purely on Super Rugby to ignite it,” he says. “We can work across the system and competitions so that New Zealanders can come into Australia … and make them eligible to be selected for the All Blacks. Eligibility across the tournaments is a good conversation to have.”

    ‘We could surprise everyone’
    But it goes further than that. Missed tackles and lineouts, knock-ons and missed goals are among the many unforced errors Australians have grown tired of watching. Scheduling will help, but Waugh says the sport needs to do better.

    “What we’ve been fascinated with in Australia is around winning the Rugby World Cup … what’s really important is winning consistently every year. That drives interest,” he says.

    “Where I’ll be spending most of my time will be on how do we drive high performance to make [rugby] far more attractive commercially. We’ve probably had to go to market with a less compelling proposition than we’d like because we haven’t succeeded as best we could.”

    Rugby union has always faced competition from other sporting codes such as AFL, NRL and soccer. In 2022, about 144,700 people over the age of 15 played rugby, compared to 149,700 in 2016. That’s despite a 1.5 per cent increase in children under the age of 15 picking up the sport during the same period.

    Waugh says the sport needs to focus on its strengths, to ensure participation at a young age flows through to the professional game. One of its key differences is international appeal.

    “You are always going to be in the fight for a contract in cash, but how do you give a touring experience and the global experience, which is the most compelling competitive advantage for rugby against other codes?”

    Former Wallaby Phil Waugh has been named chief executive of Rugby Australia.
    RELATED Former Wallabies captain Waugh named Rugby Australia CEO

    Andrew Forrest’s company Tattarang, which funds the Perth-based Super Rugby team Western Force, is said to be interested in acquiring a stake in Rugby Australia. He is pictured with Rugby Australia chair Hamish McLennan.
    RELATED Rugby Australia eyes $250m from private equity

    Zoe Samios is a journalist for The Australian Financial Review covering wagering and the business of sport. She is based in Sydney. Connect with Zoe on Twitter.

    https://www.afr.com/companies/sport/...inning%20games.

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  5. #5
    Champion andrewg's Avatar
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    Underwhelming.....................
    The great game in Australia is NOT in safe/competent hands.

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    It certainly doesn't feel like it. It feels more that everyone is just waiting for the hammer to fall as they do something dumb and irreversible...

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    All that dissembling clap-trap about grass roots and Western Sydney (what about Western Brisbane/Ipswich) has been run up the flagpole ever since Rugby went pro. Jury is a long way out on that one. Any academy will need to be backed up with enough development officers to get into the schools and actually get some kids playing the game as an alternative to RL & AFL.

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    "The main difference between playing League and Union is that now I get my hangovers on Monday instead of Sunday - Tom David


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    It’s all about Sydney! What a load of clap trap! Just wasted 4 minutes of my life.

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    May the FORCE be with you!

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    I swear Rugby Australia CEO's have been saying "we need to win hearts and minds in Western Sydney/NRL heartland" for 25 years.

    That's also where I stopped reading the article.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jargan83 View Post
    I swear Rugby Australia CEO's have been saying "we need to win hearts and minds in Western Sydney/NRL heartland" for 25 years.

    That's also where I stopped reading the article.
    I remember when WSR or GRR was talking to an interested party to play out of Parramatta Stadium and NSW Rugby, Sydney Rugby and RAU all advised no thankyou.

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    I'm trying to be open minded and get to the bottom of the Western Sydney obsession, so I've gone down the Wikipedia rabbit hole... not very far, just to the Greater Western Sydney page actually....
    Sharing here as I'm guessing a few others from WA side may not be aware without looking-

    West-Central & North West is Canterbury-Bankstown, Parramatta and Cumberland Council- ~846,000 (2016)
    West is Blacktown, Blue Mountains, Hawkesbury, Penrith and The Hills- ~327,000 (2016)
    South West is Camden, Campbelltown, Fairfield, Liverpool, and Wollondilly- ~829,000 (2016)
    Total GWS population (2016)- ~2,002,000, including 1 TWF Member...

    Total Greater Perth population (2018 est)- 2,059,484

    Greater Western Sydney (GWS) has-
    37% of Australia's Tongan speakers
    34% of Australia's Samoan speakers

    However, "The residents of GWS come from more than 170 countries and speak over 100 different languages", which in Burgs-talk reads like a lot of soccer fans that would be hard to win over.

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    Quote Originally Posted by andrewg View Post
    I remember when WSR or GRR was talking to an interested party to play out of Parramatta Stadium and NSW Rugby, Sydney Rugby and RAU all advised no thankyou.
    Nswru had "big plans for western Sydney" It's 5aken 5 years to organise a ceo who is willing to take money from everywhere else in Australia to fund those plans. Now the power brokers are working on getting him to give the money to them so they can put the plan into motion. The plan will be to pay more money for them to play for Randwick and Sydney Uni.

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    C'mon the

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    Quote Originally Posted by Burgs View Post
    I'm trying to be open minded and get to the bottom of the Western Sydney obsession, so I've gone down the Wikipedia rabbit hole... not very far, just to the Greater Western Sydney page actually....Sharing here as I'm guessing a few others from WA side may not be aware without looking-West-Central & North West is Canterbury-Bankstown, Parramatta and Cumberland Council- ~846,000 (2016)West is Blacktown, Blue Mountains, Hawkesbury, Penrith and The Hills- ~327,000 (2016)South West is Camden, Campbelltown, Fairfield, Liverpool, and Wollondilly- ~829,000 (2016)Total GWS population (2016)- ~2,002,000, including 1 TWF Member...Total Greater Perth population (2018 est)- 2,059,484Greater Western Sydney (GWS) has-37% of Australia's Tongan speakers34% of Australia's Samoan speakersHowever, "The residents of GWS come from more than 170 countries and speak over 100 different languages", which in Burgs-talk reads like a lot of soccer fans that would be hard to win over.
    So you're saying that Perth has more people and I'd suggest fewer rugby league diehards.Still makes no sense to put all that money into western Sydney.

    0 Not allowed! Not allowed!
    C'mon the

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