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Wests Tigers interim CEO Shane Richardson has declared a renewed focus on South-Western Sydney is the key step in helping turn the club into an NRL powerhouse.

Richardson concedes the organisation has neglected the Macarthur region in recent years and he's not surprised the Wests Tigers' latest push into the area has been met with scepticism by locals and community leaders. 

The new boss, however, is determined to change the perception and cited Thursday's opening of a new Campbelltown office as the latest step in an effort to reconnect with fans and corporate partners. 

"I don't think the region and community have bought in yet because I don't think we've done enough to make them buy in," Richardson told

"We're doing that now by doing our community programs in schools out here, by trying to increase our number of players from 9,000 to 10,000, by making a statement we're a development club and we're not going to buy players and recruit players for our younger grades.

Wests Tigers rookie Lachlan Galvin headlines a promising crop of Magpies juniors.
Wests Tigers rookie Lachlan Galvin headlines a promising crop of Magpies juniors. ©Wests Tigers

"That's a statement of the confidence we've got that this area can produce the players we need going forward. It doesn't mean we're ignoring Balmain, it's a part of us but we're the Wests Tigers and this is the Western Suburbs so we're looking forward to growing."

A renewed focus on South-West Sydney was laid out in a strategic review released by the Wests Tigers earlier this month, with officials viewing the area as a key opportunity for growth.

Among the key pillars of Richardson's desire to leverage the booming Macarthur region is to establish a sustainable talent pipeline from junior rugby league to the NRL for the thousands of children currently playing in the area. 

The CEO has succeeded in this space in previous stints with Penrith and South Sydney, culminating in NRL premierships for home-grown teams. 

It's also the model used by the current Panthers hierarchy to turn the club into a powerhouse on and off the field. Nathan Cleary headlines a long list of Penrith juniors who have guided the team to three-straight titles. 

Wests Tigers officials are hoping to ride the wave of a once-in-a-generation crop of talent to establish a pipeline to first grade for Campbelltown juniors. 

A Western Suburbs side featuring boom NRL rookie Lachlan Galvin claimed a historic Under-17's Harold Matthews title in 2022 and many of those youngsters are filtering their way up the club's pathway. 

"It's a statement that if you stay with us, you'll make the NRL," Richardson said. "That's the first thing, the second thing is there's loyalty involved with them staying with us. That filters down into the fabric of the club. 

"The third thing is they can play. We may have the last two wooden spoons but these kids have never known losing. Galvin's played about 11 grand finals straight, Harold Matthews are undefeated this year, there's a couple of quality young centres coming through. 

Galvin looking right at home

"My point is they see Galvin coming up, they see the opportunities they're going to get because they're actually doing it, not talking about it."

Wests Tigers officials know it's early days, but there are positive signs the investment in the Macarthur region is starting to pay off. 

Galvin has emerged as a future star and is already inspiring a generation of local juniors while Sunday's clash with the St George Illawarra Dragons at Campbelltown Sports Stadium is approaching a sellout. 

Magpies junior, and Wests Tigers premiership winner, John Skandalis can feel the tide starting to shift in the region and is confident the foundations have been laid for long-term success after a few lean years. 

"The roots have been there for a while," Skandalis told "We've just got to make sure we continue to grow and move forward and not listen to the outside [voices] who sometimes try to bring us down. 

"We're moving forward and have been for a few years. This process isn't just this year, this process has been going on for a few years now and it's starting to show."

Acknowledgement of Country

Wests Tigers respect and honour the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

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