The mayor of Leichhardt will seek crisis talks with Tigers officials if rumours of the club's move away from its ''spiritual home'' at Leichhardt Oval materialise.
Darcy Byrne said he had received a ''rock solid commitment'' from chief executive Steve Humphreys early this year that the team would keep at least four games a season at the suburban ground. But Humphreys is no longer in charge, replaced by Grant Mayer.
There is talk that Friday night's loss to the Warriors may not be only Benji Marshall's last game there but the last for the Tigers, who have played there since 1934.
''Steve Humphreys made clear that the club's intention was to continue to play a minimum of four games a year at Leichhardt,'' Byrne said. ''My intention as the local mayor is to stand up for Tigers fans and our local businesses and ensure that that happens.
''If there's a new acting CEO there now and there is further discussion about abandoning the ground, I'll be getting in contact with him urgently to explain that that's unacceptable.''
The Tigers have had up to four home venues in recent seasons - Campbelltown Stadium, Allianz Stadium, ANZ Stadium and Leichhardt Oval. Financial incentives make it attractive for the club to play more games at ANZ Stadium next year.
Byrne said Leichhardt Council had a ''master plan'' to upgrade the oval ''so it is more profitable for the club to play games there'', including increasing the amount of allocated seating. However, he said the council could not fund the project alone and required help from the state government and NRL.
But that is unlikely to happen. In November last year, NSW Sport and Recreation Minister Graham Annesley released a strategy that stated the NSW government's funding focus would be on major venues, effectively leaving a question mark over suburban grounds such as those at Brookvale, Kogarah, Campbelltown and Leichhardt.
''The state government's stadia strategy basically said they wouldn't invest a single dollar more in the upgrade of suburban grounds,'' Byrne said. ''Just a couple of weeks ago, they floated the idea of spending a quarter of a billion dollars on upgrading Homebush [ANZ Stadium]. Spending that kind of money on a white elephant, while walking away from suburban rugby league grounds, is not what rugby league fans want.
''With the right scheduling, more often than not, Leichhardt is filled to capacity. It is much, much better for rugby league and for the Tigers to have 20,000 people at Leichhardt than at Homebush. Leichhardt and other councils need to step up but we can't do it by ourselves. It has to be a partnership.''
At Friday night's game, the Tigers celebrated the 100th anniversary of the Keith Barnes Stand, named after the former Balmain, NSW and Kangaroos fullback and sports administrator.
''Following each Balmain game at Leichhardt, the players, officials and their wives would often meet there for a drink,'' Barnes said. ''It became a great place for everyone to socialise together.''
Byrne called on the state government to reconsider its approach to suburban grounds.
''We've put a lot of money into the ground,'' he said. ''State governments walking away from their responsibilities to suburban grounds is a recipe for the spiritual home of the Tigers and other original clubs' grounds to be abandoned altogether.''