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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New Zealand vs. Australia (TV style) – My call (The Rugby Championship/2nd Test – Bledisloe Cup 2017)

Earlier tonight, I called the third match of the 2017 Rugby Championship between New Zealand and Australia, which was held at Forsyth Barr Stadium in Dunedin in New Zealand.

After suffering a huge loss last week against the All Blacks (54-34), the Wallabies were looking to bounce back as a team, especially defensive, where they were exposed massively.

However, it was going to be a tough challenge for the Wallabies, having won only 15 times (out of 73 matches) against the All Blacks in New Zealand.

So, would the All Blacks win the Bledisloe Cup for the 15th-straight year? Or would the Wallabies keep their hopes of reclaiming the Bledisloe Cup alive?

 

Find out right here, and enjoy my sports commentary!

My sports commentary (TV style): New Zealand vs. British and Irish Lions – My call (Second Test – 2017)

Earlier tonight, I decided to call (from home) the second test match between New Zealand and the British and Irish Lions, which was held at Westpac Stadium in Wellington, the capital of New Zealand.

The All Blacks came into the match having won the first test by 30 – 15, and had won 23 out of their last 24 matches against all opposition, and had won 12 of their last 13 matches against the Lions. The last time the Lions had won against the All Blacks was all the way back in 1993 in Wellington.

Would this change tonight?

Would it change at a venue where New Zealand had won its last 16 matches?

To give you a clue, it was one of the most dramatic test matches in quite a long time!

I hope you enjoy it!

My sports commentary (TV style): New Zealand vs. British and Irish Lions – My call (First Test – 2017)

Yesterday, in addition to calling (from my home) the mid-year test match between Australia and Italy, I decided to call the first test match between New Zealand and the British and Irish Lions, which was held at Eden Park in Auckland.

The All Blacks came into this series as the undisputed best team in the world, and came into the match looking to protect and extend a 37-match winning streak at Eden Park up against a British and Irish Lions looking to put up the biggest test the All Blacks have faced in some time.

I hope you enjoy listening to my commentary!

My sports commentary (TV style): Australia vs. Italy – My call (Mid-Year Test – 2017)

Yesterday, I decided to call (from my home) the mid-year test match between Australia and Italy, which was held at Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane.

In a week where the Wallabies and Australian rugby in general was criticised for their poor performance and loss against Scotland, and the issues in regards to grassroots rugby within the country, the Australian team were desperate to put things right against Italy, a team who have the ability to push the Wallabies, although that they had never beaten the Wallabies in the previous 16 meetings before this encounter.

I hope you enjoy listening to my commentary!

My sports commentary (TV style): Australia vs. Fiji (Mid-Year Test – 2017)

For my next go at doing some sports commentary, I decided to commentate the mid-year rugby union Test match between Australia and Fiji, which was held at AAMI Park in Melbourne yesterday afternoon.

I was calling the match at home, watching the match on my iPad.

I hope you enjoy listening to it!

My best Wallabies 23

As the Australian rugby union team head into their upcoming internationals against Fiji, Scotland and Italy, there has been plenty of debate as to the make-up of the Wallabies, and the long-term goals of how to challenge and beat the likes of England and New Zealand on a consistent basis, as well as building a strong squad of players for the 2019 Rugby World Cup in Japan.

So, I have decided to try and pick a team, based on the players selected for these three internationals coming up over the next three Saturdays in Melbourne, Sydney, and Brisbane respectively.

Here was the squad named a week ago by Wallabies coach Michael Cheika, and placed into their positional groups.

 

PROPS

Allan Ala’alatoa (Brumbies), Sekope Kepu (Waratahs), Tom Robertson (Waratahs), Scott Sio (Brumbies), Toby Smith (Rebels).

HOOKERS

Tolu Latu (Waratahs), Stephen Moore (C) (Reds), Tatafu Polota-Nau (Force).

LOCKS

Rory Arnold (Brumbies), Sam Carter (Brumbies), Adam Coleman (Force), Lukhan Tui (Reds).

BACK-ROWERS

Jack Dempsey (Waratahs), Ned Hanigan (Waratahs), Richard Hardwick (Force), Scott Higginbotham (Reds), Michael Hooper (Waratahs), Lopeti Timani (Rebels).

SCRUM-HALVES

Will Genia (Stade Français), Nick Phipps (Waratahs) (injured), Joe Powell (Brumbies), Jake Gordon (Waratahs).

FLY-HALVES

Quade Cooper (Reds), Bernard Foley (Waratahs).

CENTRES

Kyle Godwin (Brumbies), Reece Hodge (Rebels), Samu Kerevi (Reds) (injured), Tevita Kuridrani (Brumbies), Rob Horne (Waratahs).

OUTSIDE BACKS

Israel Folau (Waratahs), Dane Haylett-Petty (Force), Karmichael Hunt (Reds), Marika Koroibete (Rebels), Eto Nabuli (Reds), Sefa Naivalu (Rebels), Henry Speight (Brumbies).

 

As you might notice, both Nick Phipps and Samu Kerevi have been ruled out of the upcoming internationals due to injury, and have been replaced in the squad by Jake Gordon and Rob Horne respectively.

The absence of Kerevi is a massive blow for Australia, considering the form he has been in for the Reds, having a total of 22 clean breaks in Super Rugby so far in 2017, the best out of any Australian player, and would have been a certain starter if he was fully fit in my opinion.

However, I have selected a starting 15, and a bench in the absence of Phipps and Kerevi that I believe can take Australian rugby towards a successful future.

Here is my strongest Wallabies team.

 

My best Wallabies line-up

1. Scott Sio (Brumbies)

2. Stephen Moore (C) (Reds)

3. Allan Ala’alatoa (Brumbies)

4. Rory Arnold (Brumbies)

5. Sam Carter (Brumbies)

6. Ned Hanigan (Waratahs)

7. Michael Hooper (Waratahs)

8. Scott Higginbotham (Reds)

9. Will Genia (Stade Français)

10. Bernard Foley (Waratahs)

11. Eto Nabuli (Reds)

12. Reece Hodge (Rebels)

13. Tevita Kuridrani (Brumbies)

14. Henry Speight (Brumbies)

15. Israel Folau (Waratahs)

 

 

 

Replacements

16. Tolu Latu (Waratahs)

17. Tom Robertson (Waratahs)

18. Sekope Kepu (Waratahs)

19. Adam Coleman (Force)

20. Lopeti Timani (Rebels)

21. Joe Powell (Brumbies)

22. Quade Cooper (Reds)

23. Kyle Godwin (Brumbies)

 

In selecting the forwards for the Australian team, I was looking to put together a unit that know each other intimately on a week-by-week basis, as well as a forward unit that was strong at the scrum, line-out, and also at the breakdown.

The starting tight five pick themselves, while Michael Hooper and Scott Higginbotham were certain selections at openside flanker and at number eight respectively.

This left the tough decision as to who to select at blindside flanker, and I have decided to go with uncapped Ned Hanigan, who has been in strong form for the Waratahs, and will compliment Hooper well at the breakdown.

In selecting the backs, I was looking for strong attacking threats who can deliver off a strong platform.

In terms of scrum-half, and fly-half, both Will Genia and Bernard Foley are automatic selections, as is Reece Hodge at inside centre.

At outside centre, I would have selected Samu Kerevi, but in his absence, I have selected Tevita Kuridrani, but if Kerevi was available, Kuridrani would be on the bench.

In terms of the back three, Israel Folau is the best and hardest working back-line player in Australia, scoring eight tries in Super Rugby so far in 2017, and has the ability at fullback to break a game wide-open, while Eto Nabuli and Henry Speight are the two best wingers in Australia, and deserve to be selected in the Wallabies team.

In terms of the replacements, I have selected the entire Waratahs front-row, and although it is a 50/50 call as to select either Tatafu Polota-Nau, or Tolu Latu, I feel that Latu was in slightly better form to earn a spot on the bench ahead of Polota-Nau.

Adam Coleman and Lopeti Timani are solid back-ups in the locking and back-row positions, and although Nick Phipps is out, Joe Powell will be a solid back-up to Will Genia in the scrum-half role, while I have selected Quade Cooper and Kyle Godwin as the final two replacements in the side, although the likes of Karmichael Hunt and Dane Haylett-Petty will come under serious consideration for a bench spot at least.

This is my best Wallabies 23 at this moment in time. What do you think?