The stadium issue in Sydney

Back in December 2014, I wrote an article on The Roar about the stadium issue in Sydney, and talked about the various options for sports stadia developments in Sydney.

I talked about ANZ Stadium, and the options for redeveloping the Olympic Stadium that has delivered Australia so many wonderful sporting memories. I talked about the options for Western Sydney, for which they have now decided to go with demolishing and building a new stadium on the land of the old Parramatta Stadium, as well as the options for Allianz Stadium, and for Brookvale Oval, a ground clearly in need of rejuvenation!

However, it has only been in recent times that all the stakeholders have moved to decide which stadiums should be redeveloped or built in Sydney.

As I briefly mentioned before, work on building the new Western Sydney Stadium on the site of the old Parramatta Stadium is well and truly underway with the 30,000-seat stadium set for completion in 2019, but news on the futures of ANZ Stadium, also known as Stadium Australia, and Allianz Stadium, also known as the Sydney Football Stadium, have been recently announced.

ANZ Stadium is set to be demolished and rebuilt into a 75,000-seat stadium, and reconfigured into a rectangular field, meaning that only sports played on a rectangular field, like rugby league, rugby union, and football can be played at the stadium. The stadium is set to feature a retractable roof, meaning that matches can be played in perfect conditions all year round. Construction works will begin in late 2019.

This is a slightly different plan from the one I talked about the stadium back in 2014, which planned on catering for all sports, including Australian rules football, and cricket, as well as having the possibility of hosting major athletics championships, such as the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) World Championship, due to the ability of being able to reconfigure the stadium from a rectangle to an oval, and vice-versa!

I would prefer that a redeveloped ANZ Stadium was able to cater for all sports (both rectangular and oval), and even if the cost of redevelopment is slightly more than to demolish and rebuild, would it matter if you had more sports and more teams using the venue on a regular basis?

I am not sure if I agree with the New South Wales (NSW) Government’s decision to demolish and rebuild ANZ Stadium, but I certainly agree that Allianz Stadium needs to be demolished and rebuilt, with construction works for Allianz Stadium beginning at the end of 2018.

The stadium is riddled with so many violations of safety standards, including violations Occupational Health and Safety (OH&S) Standards, and is not compliant with the Disability Discrimination Act in terms of offering the amount of seats/spots for people in wheelchairs to watch their favourite sports from a great vantage point.

In addition, I have heard that the standards of media facilities at Allianz Stadium is poor, as referenced by Phil Gould back in September, and with so many issues with the stadium, it is time for Allianz Stadium to be rebuilt!

However, the issue I have about the rebuild of Allianz Stadium is not that it is going to be rebuilt, but the eventual seating capacity of the new stadium is going to be around 45,000, which is roughly the same amount as it is right now, where in logical reality, it should be at least 5,000 to 10,000 more than that!

Overall, I fully agree to Allianz Stadium being demolished and rebuilt, but I think it is a massive call to demolish and rebuild ANZ Stadium, and I still believe that it should be a unique stadium that has the ability to cater for a multitude of sports, in all shapes and sizes, and that this could be down by a major redevelopment of the stadium, rather than a total demolition and rebuild job.

Don’t be surprised, perhaps in the near future, that if Sydney wants to host an IAAF World Championships, a Commonwealth Games, or even an Olympic Games that people will start complaining that Sydney doesn’t have an adequate, as in modern, stadium to host these kind of events, and that a brand-new stadium would have to be built, one that is extremely expensive, to cater for these kind of events, even though those same people complaining supported the decision of the NSW Government back in 2017 to demolish and rebuild ANZ Stadium into a national stadium catering for just rectangular sports!

 

 

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Melbourne Storm vs. North Queensland Cowboys (TV style) – My call (2017 NRL Grand Final – Highlights)

The best highlights of the 2017 National Rugby League (NRL) Grand Final between the Melbourne Storm and the North Queensland Cowboys.

Enjoy!

Melbourne Storm vs. North Queensland Cowboys (TV style) – My call (2017 NRL Grand Final)

After my preview of the 2017 NRL Grand Final between the Melbourne Storm and the North Queensland Cowboys, I have called the match for your enjoyment!

Listen to my call right here, and enjoy!

 

2017 NRL Grand Final Preview – Melbourne Storm vs. North Queensland Cowboys

On Sunday night, the 2017 National Rugby League (NRL) Grand Final will take place from ANZ Stadium in Sydney between the Melbourne Storm, who are looking to win their third official premiership (fifth if you include the stripped premierships of 2007 and 2009) in their eighth grand final appearance, and the North Queensland Cowboys, who are looking to win their second premiership in three years, playing in their third grand final.

The Storm come into the grand final on the back of a nine-match winning streak, including defeating the Brisbane Broncos (30-0) last week in the preliminary final, and have been the best side all year, only losing four matches from 26, and being ranked the best team (at the end of the regular season) in both attack and defence, scoring 633 points at an average of 26.37 points per game, and conceding 336 points at an average of 14 points per game.

However, there is a lot on the line for the Melbourne Storm on Sunday night, with Cooper Cronk playing his last match for the club that he has loved so much, and possibly the last match of his NRL career, although he will be available for selection for the Rugby League World Cup starting in late October, and Billy Slater playing in his 299th and possibly last NRL match for the Storm, although like Cronk will be available for selection for the Rugby League World Cup.

However, in addition to Cronk and Slater, the key player for the Storm will be Cameron Smith, who won his second Dally M Medal on Wednesday night, 11 years after he won his first, and the way he can control a game exceptionally well, with both his kicking and running game, as well as his leadership will be key to the Storm’s chances.

The Cowboys come into the grand final after defeating the Sydney Roosters (29-16) last week in the preliminary final, and it has been quite a remarkable performance considering Johnathan Thurston and Matt Scott have been out for the vast majority of the year, and won’t be playing in the grand final, only palying nine matches for the Cowboys between them in 2017.

At the end of the regular season, the Cowboys are the fifth-best team defensively, conceding 443 points at an average of 18.45 points per game, but were only the 10th-ranked attacking team in the NRL, scoring 467 points at an average of 19.45 points per game, and will be looking to become the lowest-ranked team (eighth) to win the premiership.

In addition to this, the North Queensland Cowboys will look to become the first team since the Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs in 1980 to win the premiership after having a points differential at the end of the regular season of less than +100. Nine teams with a points differential of less than +100 at the end of a regular season have made a grand final since then, but have all failed to win the trophy.

The Cowboys are also aiming to become the first team since the Western Suburbs Magpies in 1952 to defeat a team in a grand final who had a points differential at the end of the regular season of +100 or more after having a points differential at the end of the regular season of less than +100.

The key to the Cowboys making the grand final has been the form of Michael Morgan, who has really elevated himself to a whole new level in the absence of Thurston, and has proven himself to be a big-match player, as well as Jason Taumalolo, who has averaged 209.04 running metres per match in 2017, and has really lifted to another level in the absence of Scott.

Looking at the recent records between the two teams, the Storm have won six of their last seven matches against the Cowboys, including their last five, but in finals matches, the Cowboys have won two of their three matches against the Storm, although the two teams have split their last two finals encounters.

Overall, the Storm have won 25 of their 35 matches against the Cowboys, with the Cowboys winning 10, but the 2017 NRL Grand Final will be the first meeting between the two teams at ANZ Stadium.

So who will win?

Most of the historical statistics all point to the Melbourne Storm, and all the statistics in 2017 point towards the Storm. If the North Queensland Cowboys were to win the grand final, it would rank as arguably the greatest upset in a grand final in Australian rugby league history, and as much as I would love to see this happen, a premiership achieved without Thurston and Scott for the majority of the season, including in the grand final, in my opinion would be too good to be true!

I think Cronk, and potentially Slater, will get the winning farewell that they deserve so much!

It will be a tight game, and the Cowboys won’t give up until the very end, but I sense the Storm will edge away right at the end to grab their first premiership since 2012.

Melbourne Storm to win by eight points (16-8).

Sydney Roosters vs. North Queensland Cowboys (TV style) – My call (NRL Preliminary Final – Highlights)

Here are some of the highlights from the second Preliminary Final in the 2017 National Rugby League finals series between the Sydney Roosters and the North Queensland Cowboys held at Allianz Stadium, where the Cowboys marched one step closer to a fairytale premiership. Enjoy!

Melbourne Storm vs. Brisbane Broncos (TV style) – My call (NRL Preliminary Final – Highlights)

Here are some of the highlights from the first Preliminary Final of the 2017 National Rugby League (NRL) Finals Series between the Melbourne Storm and the Brisbane Broncos held at AAMI Park, where the Storm marched into their second-straight grand final. Enjoy!

Sydney Roosters vs. North Queensland Cowboys (TV style) – My call (NRL Finals – Week Three – Preliminary Final)

Earlier tonight, I called the second preliminary final of the 2017 National Rugby League (NRL) Finals Series between the Sydney Roosters and the North Queensland Cowboys, which was held at Allianz Stadium in Sydney.

The Roosters came into this preliminary final after having a week off after defeating the Brisbane Broncos (24-22) in Week One of the finals, while the Cowboys came into this grand final qualifier after defeating the Parramatta Eels (24-16) last week, and the Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks (15-14) the week before that.

In recent matches between the two teams, the Roosters had won five of their last seven against the Cowboys, and had won both of their finals matches against the Cowboys.

So, who would face the Melbourne Storm in the 2017 NRL Grand Final? Would it be the Roosters, or would it be the Cowboys?

Find out right here, and enjoy my call!