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Belmore 'not an option' for Bulldogs

By Steve Jancetic

July 3, 2008 - AAP / Sydney Morning Herald

Brisbane and not Belmore is the likely destination should the Bulldogs be asked to move games away from the cavernous ANZ Stadium, according to club chief executive Todd Greenberg.

Greenberg claimed the dilapidated Belmore Sports Ground - the longtime former base of the Bulldogs - was "not a viable option" in response to a push from the NRL for a return to boutique venues.

Rather Greenberg said the club would move low drawing home games away from ANZ and to interstate venues in a bid to cash in fan interest in less traditional areas.

"Being realistic, Belmore's not a viable option, it doesn't have anywhere near the facilities even for the general public let alone corporates so that's not an option for us," Greenberg said.

"We don't have many other options for boutique grounds but there are ways of looking at opportunities for our interstate games - potentially against interstate teams that don't draw well in Sydney.

"We've got a long term deal in place (at ANZ Stadium) but we're happy to look at ways of playing the right games at the right stadiums."

The Bulldogs will take a home game against North Queensland to Brisbane's Suncorp Stadium in round 22, having done the same thing last year, while they have previously taken games to the Gold Coast and New Zealand.

But while Greenberg said he was open to moving some fixtures, he said the focus should remain attracting more fans to ANZ Stadium.

The NRL and ANZ Stadium are at loggerheads over poorly-attended matches at the 83,000 seat Olympic venue, the banks of empty seats providing little atmosphere and creating a bad look on television screens.

The two parties have accused each other of initiating plans to shift less popular games away from the venue in exchange for blockbuster clashes.

Greenberg believes more energy should be spent on improving crowd numbers rather than playing the blame game.

"I understand it's not a good look, but what goes with it is the facilities of the people that are there - that's important, we can't take our eye off that ball," Greenberg said.

"Being blunt, 15,000, we're still underperforming ... we've got to get more people to our games.

"ANZ Stadium are probably frustrated at the moment .. they're prime purpose out of this is to drive more people to rugby league games.

"That's where the NRL, the stadium and clubs like ours, we're all very united, we have similar goals to get more people to games and we need to work collaboratively to make sure that happens."

The Bulldogs, the original ANZ Stadium tenants, are one of five teams to use the ground as a home base this season with St George Illawarra, Wests Tigers, South Sydney and Parramatta also utilising the facility.



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