Despite the not so subtle whinging by the Wests Tigers, no one can deny that the brand new $300 million dollar Bankwest Stadium venue at Parramatta belongs to the Parramatta Eels.
Built on the Eels traditional home ground that was once Cumberland Oval, and then Parramatta Stadium, Bankwest Stadium sits smash bang in the heart of Eels territory, just a short walk from Parramatta Leagues club, and will host the Eels in its first event for what will be a sellout crowd on Easter Monday.
As of right now the Wests Tigers plan to play games this season at Leichhardt Oval, Campbelltown Oval and Bankwest Stadium. How many home ground do the Wests Tigers want to claim as their own?
The Eels meanwhile finally return home after having played games at the Olympic Stadium at Homebush. They move back into what may be the best Rugby League stadium in the world, with high banking on the seats, not a bad seat in the entire house, in a stadium that was made just for the rectangular sports that Sydney supports.
I personally believe that once people in Sydney experience seeing the game in a modern stadium that was built for the perfect viewing experience, it will change what Rugby League supporters demand from a game day experience. I would not be shocked if within the next couple of years we see the Panthers pushing for a new stadium along the same lines, as NRL clubs across the competition lift the standards of their facilities and offer the best experience for fans who pay cold hard cash to actually turn up and support their club.
As a Rugby League supporter you have to be excited about the opening of Parramatta’s new stadium. With Test matches to be played there, and the Rugby League 9’s World Cup, it will get a lot of use by all of us here in Sydney.
We can all want to claim it as our own, but make no mistake, Bankwest Stadium belongs to the blue and gold army that supports the Parramatta Eels!