Questions over Dragons legal action dismissed as 'nonsense'

Minister for the Illawarra John Ajaka has rejected Shellharbour MP Anna Watson’s questions over whether his government will sue the St George Illawarra Dragons over the loss of two WIN Stadium games from the team’s annual playing schedule.

Ms Watson this week called on the minister to hold the rugby league club to account after Sport and Recreation Minister Gabrielle Upton said Venues NSW would seek to enforce its five-year agreement with the Dragons.

But in Wollongong on Friday, Mr Ajaka defended his favourite team, saying the government would not be taking legal action.

He also praised the Dragons’ charity work and other ventures in the region.

‘‘I’m stunned by the announcement Anna Watson made and I’m disappointed she doesn’t love the Dragons,’’ he said.

‘‘The Dragons had a commitment with Venues NSW for six games and they went back to four, but they also indicated that they would be looking at [holding] other games there.

‘‘The thought of suing the Dragons over this is just nonsense.’’

Mr Ajaka said this week’s announcement that the Charity Shield match between St George Illawarra and South Sydney would be played at WIN Stadium meant there would be five games in the region this season.

He also said the local team was working with Venues NSW and looking at other games to hold in Wollongong.

He denied the shield had only been moved because of a timetable clash with an Eminem concert at ANZ Stadium, saying Wollongong had been chosen over ‘‘numerous other venues’’.

Mr Ajaka was in town to officially open the city’s new Service NSW centre in Kembla Street, which has been up and running since early December.

The centre is the second in the Illawarra, after NSW’s first one-stop-shop for licences, registrations, pension cards and births, deaths and marriages opened in Kiama  last year.

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