Iconic Leichhardt Oval celebrated in new movie
Thursday 28 September 2017
Inner West Council and AllStar Productions have today released a moving film about Leichhardt Oval, spiritual home of the Wests Tigers and Sydney's most famous suburban rugby league ground.
The film is narrated by former Balmain Tigers and NSW Captain Wayne Pearce and includes stirring interviews with former Tigers legends including Garry Jack, Steve Roach, Paul Sironen, Aaron Woods and Robbie Farah.
Mayor of Inner West Council Cr Darcy Byrne said that the film should serve as a wake up call to NSW NRL.
“This film shows why the push to kill off suburban rugby league grounds is so wrong and why Leichhardt Oval must always be preserved as a spiritual home of the Wests tigers,” he said.
“As Mayor of the former Leichhardt Council, I initiated the production of this film and as Mayor of the new Inner West Council I will continue the fight to keep Leichhardt Oval open as an NRL ground.
“The Rugby League hierarchy and the State Government should stop and listen to the passion expressed by fans and players in this film and remember what’s most important about the game.”
The film was produced by local filmmaker Hans Bishop, himself a passionate Balmain Tigers fan, who said that the story of Leichhardt Oval is about preserving a part of local history that cannot be lost.
“This is like a second home to me and I feel strongly that its heritage must be documented for the future,” he said.
"Leichhardt Oval has carried the hopes and passions of the people of the Balmain area for over 80 years.
“The Balmain Tigers and, now, the Wests tigers represent the heart of this tight knit community. This film demonstrates the deep feelings players, fans and the local residents have for their beloved Leichhardt Oval".
The film was commissioned in 2016 and includes historic footage of games and fans, as well as modern day interviews on game days over the past 18 months.
It was born of concerns that the NSW State Government’s plans to abandon suburban grounds might mean the end of Leichhardt Oval’s proud history.
“Given that we may be seeing the end of an institution, it was important to make a proper recording of the club, the fans, and what the Tigers still mean for the local area,” said Cr Byrne.
“Rather than a staid document to sit in our library archive, we wanted an historic recording that was as vibrant and dynamic as the Team and the fans themselves.”
To view the film,Leichhardt Oval