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Full house sign up for Redfern clash

SUMMER may be only half over, but rugby league has its first sell-out of 2009 with South Sydney's return to Redfern against Wests Tigers to be played before a full house reports AAP in The Australian of January 26, 2009.

Just over 5,000 will cram into the redeveloped Redfern Oval for the "members only" match on February 8, the return to South Sydney's spiritual home marking the re-opening of the boutique ground following a $20 million facelift.

Souths chief executive Shane Richardson said the club could have sold out the ground twice over, with the final 300 tickets unwanted by Tigers members snapped up last week.

"We could have got 8,000 or 10,000 if we'd wanted to but we only had 5,000 to do it without putting in temporary grandstands," Richardson said.

"It's a very positive start to the season and there's lots of people looking forward to returning to Redfern. Every fan there is going to be a ticketed member - it's a first in rugby league.

"We sold out our half of the tickets a month and a half ago, the last ones were just the extra 300 we got back from the Tigers."

Capacity at the ground used to be over 20,000 when the Rabbitohs called it home from 1948-1987, but with the ground to be used primarily as South Sydney's training headquarters, seating at the new-look venue has been slashed.

"It can hold up to 8000 if you put in temporary grandstands around the outside,'' Richardson said.

"We decided not to do that this year, we just thought 5,000 would be a good number. We didn't know if we'd sell that out."

The clash with the Tigers is the first of two trials for the Bunnies with the other being the traditional Charity Shield clash with St George Illawarra at ANZ Stadium on February 28.