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Wednesday, 25 September 2019

Amalgamation outcome: Wests Ashfield – Balmain Leagues Club

Dear Members,

As you would be aware, last week there were two very important meetings in the history of Western Suburbs Leagues Club Ltd (Wests Ashfield) and Balmain Leagues Club (Balmain).

The first meeting on the evening of Wednesday 18th September, saw Balmain members vote in favour of the proposed amalgamation or takeover by Wests Ashfield.

The following evening, Thursday 19th September, the members of Wests Ashfield, voted almost unanimously to support the amalgamation proposal.  The support extended to keep alive our fellow foundation club is an important historical moment involving both clubs.

Following both sides of the membership base approving the amalgamation, an application is being lodged for final approval from the NSW Liquor and Gaming Authority.

Once this is received, it’s full steam ahead to transfer Balmain Leagues Club’s 12,000 memberships, along with the profitable Tigers Sydney Markets Club operation and associated assets to Wests Ashfield.

Included in the amalgamation and to continue fostering and propagating the game of rugby league, the Balmain Tigers Rugby League Football Club will be funded by Wests Ashfield.  This does not change our continuing support for the operations of Wests Magpies, which has been in place since 1955.

The former Rozelle site of Balmain operations remains the subject of consideration by the State Government, for the use of its land as a possible excavation entryway or “dive site” for the Western Harbour Tunnel.  If the State Government were not to proceed with further consideration of this matter, an agreement for a lease for uses of the property will be entered into with the current developer and is subject to due diligence and terms that are favourable to Wests Ashfield.

I wish to thank everyone who has been involved with this process and a special mention to my fellow Board members; our CEO, Simon Cook and his management team, for their due diligence and you, our members.


Mike Bailey

Chairman | Wests Ashfield


VALE – John Chalk AM

Balmain Tigers are deeply saddened at the passing of life member John Chalk AM.

Undoubtedly a legend of the Balmain Tigers, Chalk started as a ball boy for the Tigers in 1955. He served as both a manager and selector with the Jersey Flegg teams in the 1970s and 80s, before joining the Balmain Tigers Board in 1985. He became Chairman in 1997 and was the inaugural Chairman of Wests Tigers.

John also served on the NSWRL, ARL and NRL boards from 2001 onwards, serving as NSWRL and ARL Chairman from 2010-2012. He has been President of NSWRL since 2013 and was awarded Life Membership in 2015. He was recognised at the NSWRL Centre of Excellence in 2019 with a room named in his honour.

In 2016, Chalk was made a Member of the Order of Australia (AM) “for significant service to rugby league as an administrator at the state and national level, and to Indigenous and non-Indigenous youth.”

Few have served our club, nor our game, for as long and with as much distinction as John Chalk.

The thoughts of everyone in the Balmain Tigers community are with John’s wife Lyn and their family in this difficult time.

One of the great Tigers, John will be sorely missed by all in our game.

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Friday 22 March 2019


The Board of Wests Ashfield wishes to address matters that were raised through a report in The Sydney Morning Herald (SMH) of 22 March 2019: “Balmain saved from brink of extinction with new leagues club to come”.

There is a very, very long way to go before achieving the end result of what is the headline, covering that story.

No final “deal” has been arranged in relation to the future of Balmain and their leagues clubs, which were put into voluntary administration late last year.

Directors of Wests Ashfield have agreed to become involved in negotiations that ultimately will play a role in determining the future of those clubs.

This action has been taken on the basis that any final outcome of this matter will result in producing arrangements that are commercially viable to the financial and other interests of our Club at Ashfield and to its continuing commitment to supporting our community commitments including Wests Tigers and Wests Magpies.

It should be noted that ultimately, any decision on finalising arrangements will require the approval of members of both Wests Ashfield Leagues and Balmain Leagues.

This is a most important point and, to be fair, it’s one that was mentioned in the second paragraph of the SMH story.

In the short term, business arrangements will continue as they have been regarding all of our operations and Wests Ashfield Leagues Club will continue supporting Wests Tigers and Wests Magpies and junior football in our region.