Leichhardt Oval
Leichhardt Oval is a football stadium in Leichhardt, New South Wales, Australia. It is a home ground for the Wests Tigers rugby league team. The stadium has a nominal capacity of 20,000, with recorded highest crowd figures of 23,000 in the 1981 KB Tooth final South Sydney Rabbitohs versus Cronulla Sharks, and 22,877 for the July 24, 2005 NRL game of Wests Tigers versus South Sydney Rabbitohs, in which the Tigers won 42-20. The ground is considered by some to be antiquated but home supporters and many league fans in general consider it to be a good watching ground due to the proximity of supporters to the playing area. The grounds roots lie with the Balmain Tigers who were in the national competition from 1908 to 1999. The Balmain Tigers merged with the Western Suburbs Magpies for the start of season 2000 to become the Wests Tigers.

Leichhardt Oval was first used as a Rugby League football ground in 1936. It has been a venue for first grade rugby league since 1943 as the home ground of the Balmain Tigers. The ground underwent a major overhaul during the 1970s when the configuration of the ground was changed (from east-west to north-south) and lighting installed. As it was one of the few rugby league grounds with lighting and was located close to the city, Leichhardt Oval began to be used for non-Balmain games such as the pre-origin interstate games. For many years in the 1970s and 1980s it was also the headquarters for the midweek night time knockout competition. On 4 August 1985 a crowd of 21,707 set a new record for the ground. Balmain left the ground in 1994 when they moved to Parramatta Stadium as part of an identity change to the Sydney Tigers. The move was not popular with supporters and the club returned to Leichhardt for the 1997 season. Balmain played their final game as a stand alone team in 1999 when they defeated Parramatta 20-10 in appalling conditions. The ground then became one of the home grounds of the new Wests Tigers team.

Leichhardt Oval Today
The ground remains a venue for high level rugby league in Australia although it currently holds only four NRL games a year. This decision to reduce the amount of games is mainly financial and related to issues such as ground capacity, corporate facilities, and financial incentives to play games at the Sydney Football Stadium. Ironically for a ground once prized for its lighting, the cost of playing night games is another factor as the current lighting is not considered acceptable. In spite (or perhaps because) of its anitquated facilities, Leichhardt Oval is beloved by Tigers fans especially those who formerly supported Balmain. Match attendances are usually close to or at capacity. Attempts to improve facilities are underway with the goal to return Leichhardt to its place as a top level rugby league venue. In 2007 the New South Wales Government announced it would provide finance to help in the redevelopment of the ground . Previously it had provided a loan to match grants made from Leichhardt Council and the Balmain Football Club. A group known as Stop the Rot aims to revamp the ground into a first class sporting venue. A.P.I.A. Leichhardt Tigers were renamed Sydney Tigers before the start of the 2009 New South Wales Premier League, and moved their home ground from Lambert Park back to Leichhardt Oval, for the first time in over a decade. A-League club Sydney FC will also played a pre-season friendly against rivals Central Coast Mariners on 6 June. On 21 November 2009 Leichhardt Oval hosted 2 matches in a double-header of the W-League. Sydney FC took on Perth Glory while after that Melbourne Victory played the Central Coast Mariners. During 2009, the thirty year lease of Leichhardt Oval by the West Tigers Franchise, came to an end. It is not known what further activity will be conducted by the West Tigers franchise. The local business arm of the Tigers, the Balmain Leagues Club, continues on its long haul to financially restructure, following financial losses in 2008 and 2009. As of early 2010, the Balmain Tigers have yet to make a further commitment to returning to play the overall majority of their matches, using Leichhardt Oval.

Wests Tigers record at Leichhardt Oval
Overall - Played 46, Won 29, Drawn 1, Lost 16 2010 Played 4 Won 4 (Canberra, Nth Qld, Cronulla, Melbourne) 2009 Played 3 Won 2 (Melbourne, Nth Qld), Lost 1 (Penrith) 2008 Played 3 Won 1 (Gold Coast), Lost 2 (New Zealand, Cronulla) 2007 Played 3 Won 1 (North Queensland), Lost 2 (Manly, Souths) 2006 Played 3 Won 3 (Melbourne, Manly, Souths) 2005 Played 3 Won 2 (Manly, Souths), Lost 1 (Melbourne) 2004 Played 4 Won 4 (Manly, Parramatta, Melbourne, Souths) 2003 Played 5 Won 1 (Cronulla), Lost 4 (Canberra, Brisbane, Manly, Souths) 2002 Played 5 Won 3 (Parramantta, Northern Eagles, Melbourne), Lost 2 (Penrith, Souths) 2001 Played 6 Won 3 (Melbourne, Nth Qld, Northern Eagles), Lost 3 (Parramatta, Dragons, Cronulla) 2000 Played 7 Won 5 (Auckland, Canberra, Penrith, Northern Eagles, Cronulla), Drew 1 (Parramatta), Lost 1 (Nth Qld)

Building Activity

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