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The St George Illawarra Dragons on Monday announced a strategic initiative with the NRL that will stamp key Dragons games as some of the biggest events of the season.

In the same way the Dragons helped transform the annual ANZAC Day match, the Club is working with the NRL to build annual events in a Right Game, Right Venue strategy, creating an exciting atmosphere for Red V Members and fans and strengthening the Club for the future.

The initiative will see the Dragons commit to playing four of their twelve home games (including the existing ANZAC Day game) annually at Sydneys major stadia: Allianz Stadium, the Sydney Cricket Ground and ANZ Stadium, over the next four years.

The Dragons will retain eight home games per season at the traditional venues of WIN Jubilee Oval, Kogarah and WIN Stadium, Wollongong.

As part of the plan, the NRL and the Dragons are looking to establish an annual Heritage Round clash with the South Sydney Rabbitohs at the SCG as well as the opportunity to create marquee events around matches involving clubs such as the Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs, Wests Tigers, Parramatta Eels and Sydney Roosters, who are already committed to these venues.

The strategy will be underpinned by the commercial investment of the major venues and a commitment from the NRL to work closely with the Clubs and Venues to create annual marquee events.

The arrangements will deliver a multiplier effect for the Dragons and their Red V Members and Corporate Partners, with reciprocal entitlements, new market opportunities and additional capacity providing a growth platform that also enables the Club to minimise the pressures on the costs of Membership and ticketing.

The initiative recognises the need to maintain traditional venues but to also ensure that the game has the capacity to attract new Members and fans.

This initiative is a key element of the Dragons strategic plan and provides a platform for future growth within the Clubs business model, ensuring this iconic Rugby League Brand can remain at the forefront of the game.

The new venue model is about ensuring long-term sustainability whilst maintaining a balance with the Club's traditions.

We are looking to be the major player in what will be a game-wide strategy going forward, said Dragons CEO Peter Doust.

If we are going to grow Membership and attendances we are going to require additional capacity, and the NSW State Government has made it clear that it will only invest in major venues, moving forward.

We will always be committed to our region and our traditions, however we also want all our Members and fans to be able to see the biggest games of the year, and to receive increased benefits.

This decision has been based on a platform for economic enhancement and growth capability, leading to long term financial sustainability."

National Rugby League Chief Executive Dave Smith said the Dragons were taking the opportunity to grow and to ensure the Club remained strong in the future:

They have really thought this through and it is a smart move," said Smith.

Any change will take some adjustment but they have a clear aim to build a big match atmosphere around the key matches and that is what we all need to work towards.

At the same time there remains a strong commitment to their traditional venues.

The Right Game, Right Venue approach is in line with both the long term NRL strategy and the NSW Governments planned future investment in major Sydney venues.

The NRL and the Dragons are working with the NSW State Government seeking to provide integrated transport with ticketing for all attendees of games under the "Right Game, Right Venue" strategy.

When the 2014 Telstra Premiership Draw is finalised in coming weeks, the Dragons will launch a revised Red V Memberships program providing access to ticketing across all five home venues and additional reciprocal ticketing opportunities to attend away games against selected Sydney teams who share those venues.

Click to read Quotes Concerning Dragons & NRL Right Game Right Venue Announcement
Acknowledgement of Country

St George Illawarra Dragons 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 Islanders peoples, where our games are played, our programs are conducted and in the communities we support.

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