By Mick Roberts
February 8, 2012 - The Torch
The much-anticipated return of the Canterbury Bankstown Bulldogs to Belmore Sports Ground on Sunday, is sure to spark plenty of nostalgia.
The Dogs last played on what is considered their spiritual home back in 1998, and organisers are hoping for up to 15,000 fans at this weekend's pre-season trial game against the Sydney Roosters to celebrate the return.
The Bulldogs moved their football and administrative base from Sydney Olympic Park after a $9 million investment at Belmore in October last year.
Bulldogs CEO Todd Greenberg said the new-look Belmore would feature five games of football, from the Under 16s through to the NRL first grade clash with the Roosters, from mid-morning into the evening.
"Keeping with our reputation as a family club, we will have something for everyone, including plenty of giveaways for the kids," Greenberg said.
"I'll definitely be taking my wife and children along on the day."
Although Greenberg said there were no plans at this stage to play NRL home games at Belmore Sports Ground, the club's strategic plan was to one day share matches between ANZ Stadium. The Bulldogs are contracted to play at ANZ Stadium until 2015.
"Belmoe still needs a lot of investment to get it up to NRL standards," he said.
"We're hoping for further corporate and government investment to achieve those standards.
"We're looking at benchmarks like Kogarah (Oval), and it's definitely on the cards with the right investment."
Bulldog legend Terry Lamb said he was looking forward to returning as a spectator to Belmore, where he slipped on the boots professionally for the last time in 1996.
"I remember it well," he said.
"We beat the Cowboys 66-6, and, if I recall rightly, I even scored a few of those tries myself."
Lamb said Belmore held a special place, not only in his heart, but in the hearts of countless fans, players and past players.
"I just hope everyone does the right thing on the day, and respects their area, parks in the right place and generally behaves themselves," he said.
He said the buzz on the streets was positive, especially among local business owners, who were looking forward to the benefits the return of rugby league would bring to Belmore.