Tonight I am off to the State of Origin game at Homebush (I refuse to call it ANZ Stadium, which was the home of the Brisbane Broncos when I was a kid in, of all places, Brisbane…) and I am looking forward to it. This is the “end of season” reward for my cricket team in which all year we scrapped cash together from ducks, dropped catches and the like and despite winning the comp, we secure enough cash to buy 14 tickets!!. Says a lot about the standard of our comp hey! But anyway, I’ll be at the game with the cricket boys and will be having a great night.
But the point of this post is the whingeing that is once again in the press about how Homebush cannot be sold out for an Origin game. Can I point out one thing. That stadium holds 85,000 people. That's alot of people for a game that will be on again in a few weeks when Sydney hosts Game 3. The stadium was purpose built for one event - the Sydney 2000 Olympics. At that time it held 110,000 people and was stripped back to its 85,000 capacity.
Also, because it was built for the Olympics, it was built with a running track and hence the grandstands are a fair distance from the sideline. It is not a rugby league (or any football code) stadium. The seats slope back gradually, the surface is too large and in general, the atmosphere, when full is not as good as a packed Sydney Football Stadium.
Add to the usual gripes about mid-week, cold weather, price of food and beer and generally people would prefer to watch the game on TV.
Then there is the counter argument from Brisbane that they should host more games and other important games like Test Matches and god forbid the Grand Final because they will always sell out SunCorp Stadium in Brisbane.
Yes, of course they will sell it out because it holds 65,000 instead of 85,000 (the predicted crowd tonight is expected to be 60,000) but the key thing is that SunCorp is perhaps the best "football" ground in Australia. It pains me to say it, but after being at a full SunCorp for a Rugby World Cup, the ground is fantastic for spectators.
So, whilst the QLDers can boast this, it should not detract from NSW people's efforts in which they have to front up twice instead of once, in a bad stadium and they will still get as many as SunCorp holds tonight. NSW patrons deserve better and/or understanding that they have been dudded by building a state of the art athletics stadium for what was effectively 2 weeks of competition in 2000 and are now trying to pass it off as a state of the art venue for League in 2008.
I'm sorry, but bring the Origin back to the SFS!
NSW by 8.