Wests Tigers gun Shawn Blore has described the club’s new $78 million Concord home as “game changing” in his recovery from a serious knee injury.
The “fully professional” facility, inspired by NFL and MLB bases in the US, comes complete with a multi-lane swimming pool, saunas, steam rooms, ice baths, a gym with full wrestling arena, theatres, sleeping rooms, a mental health hub and even an in-house barber.
Tigers CEO Justin Pascoe said the club’s centre of excellence, to be named the Zurich Centre for at least the next five years, was the “envy of other sporting bodies worldwide”.
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Wests Tigers open ‘Centre of Excellence’ | 04:39
“The Zurich Centre gives us something to be truly proud of and it provides our players and staff with an environment that will help them to be the very best they can be,” he said.
Blore, who has continued his ACL recovery at the centre for the past few months, was impressed by the facilities available.
The second rower told Fox Sports the ability to rehab at the centre had been “absolutely game changing” for him – while the team was rallying together under new coaches Tim Sheens, Benji Marshall and Robbie Farah.
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“The Tigers have sort of lost their identity that last couple of years,” he said.
“Faff and Benji and Sheensy, they’ve got that winning DNA and they’ve shown how passionate they are.
“Benji’s on the field running drills and he’s done his toe the other day, that’s how passionate they are.
“We’ve got a lot of young boys that can learn from them.
“From what I’ve seen, the training standards have gone through the roof.”
Tigers club officials had travelled to the US, touring club facilities at a host of organisations including the LA Dodgers and New York Giants for inspiration in a bid to build the best possible centre for a club that hasn’t played finals since 2011.
Previously set up in demountables, the NRL’s former “nomads” now have a place to call home.
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“The new Zurich Centre marks a real milestone for the Wests Tigers and the local community, providing players with access to world class facilities so they can perform at their best,” Zurich Australia and New Zealand CEO Justin Delaney said.
“From community engagement to high performance outcomes, this facility has reinvigorated the Concord Oval precinct which will help grow the sport and provide local pathways for our future NRLW and NRL stars,” NSW Minister for Sport Alister Henskens said.
The world-class facility was officially opened on Friday night.