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Published March 16th 2016
canterbury bulldogs fans (by Chad Cooper at Flickr)
Restless anticipation spreads throughout Sydney in February as our rugby league teams begin their trial games and the newspaper backpages are covered in league stories, replacing baggy green Cricket coverage. With 9 of the 16 NRL teams based in Sydney, we have plenty of options when deciding who to barrack for and where to go for an afternoon or evening of footy.
cronulla sharks fans (by paddynapper at Wikipedia)
As a new season explodes with excitement and controversy, fans are enticed to cheer for their club live with fantastic match ticket discounts with member packages. Almost every weekend from March to October features a rugby league match in Sydney but which ground has the best experience?
The athleticism and skill of the players is a huge drawcard but a good stadium should magnify your elation. Top factors including entry prices, transport options, food and drink selections and prices and the view of the on-field action. There's also a sentimental aspect too – it might have been the first ground you attended as a child, or you saw a huge match there with friends. Which ground do you love the most?
Of the stadiums we can enjoy in 2016, we have these options:
ANZ Stadium, Homebush – home to the NRL Grand Final and Sydney's State of Origin matches. It can be a long journey for to reach the cavernous stadium but when the 80,000 seats are filled with roaring noise and waves of energy, it's worth it.
Allianz Stadium, Paddington – The home ground for the Sydney Roosters and an easy walk from Central train station. The largest attendance was during the epic 1997 Grand Final upset as Newcastle defeated Manly 22-16.
Sydney Cricket Ground, Moore Park – hosting special fixtures including the Anzac Day match between the Roosters and Dragons. It was the site of the historic 1965 Grand Final between the Rabbitohs and the Dragons, with over 78,000 people watching St George win 12-8.
Relive the action with this classic British Pathe newsreel highlight.
Pirtek Stadium, Parramatta – the Eels home ground, shared with the equally popular A-League Western Sydney Wanderers and their Red and Black Block supporters. The overwhelming noise of chants and cheers echo across Parramatta during these matches.
sydney roosters fans (by NAPARAZZI at Flickr)
Pepper Stadium, Penrith – home to the Panthers, it's one of the few grounds dedicated solely to rugby league.
Leichardt Oval – renowned for the family-friendly atmosphere for a Sunday afternoon of league, it's especially busy when traditional rivals, the Penrith Panthers, enter the oval.
Campbelltown Stadium – the home ground of the Wests Magpies before they merged with the Balmain Tigers. A popular ground for Wests Tigers fans after the first match in 2000 – a draw against the Broncos.
Belmore Sports Ground – formerly the home ground of the Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs, it hosted 2 sellout games in 2015.
Shark Park, Woolooware – home to the Cronulla Sharks, it enjoys the largest attendances during local derbies against the Dragons. The Shire rivalry still burns hotly.
Jubilee Oval, Kogarah – a fan favourite for the Dragons since their return to the oval in 2003. The recent upgrades to this famous suburban ground make it a convenient and memorable afternoon of footy. The boardwalk display of former greats of the club is great preparation for the upcoming action.
Brookvale Oval – Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles' home ground and often in the news as locals push for upgrades to the facilities.
Which ground are you looking forward to visiting this season? We'd love to hear your comments.
ANZ Stadium, Olympic Park - short walk from the station, stacks and stacks of parking spaces, numerous entrances which reduces queues, a variety of restaurants/cafes close by, several hotels/accommodation to sleep off any celebrations.