Allianz Stadium – Sydney Roosters
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Sydney Roosters of Allianz Stadium
The Sydney Roosters were established in 1908 and have always called Moore Park home. They are a foundation club of the NSW Rugby League that later morphed into the National Rugby League (NRL). The club were originally known as Eastern Suburbs (Easts), and nicknamed the Tri-Colours. After adopting the Roosters title in the 1960s, Easts first changed their name to Sydney City, before shortening that to simply Sydney. Despite this the Roosters have always best been known for representing the exclusive eastern suburbs, and is headquartered at Bondi.
The Roosters have a long and successful history, punctuated by 13 premierships, of which the most recent was in 2013. The first rugby league superstar, Dally Messenger was a Rooster, while players such as Russel Fairfax, Arthur Beetson, Bill Mullins and John Peard were featured in a 1970s team coached by the great Jack Gibson that is widely regarded as one of the best club teams assembled in history. The recruitment of head coach Phil Gould and Brad Fittler led the club to four grand finals in five years in the early 2000s.
After spending a couple of years playing out of the Royal Agricultural Society Showgrounds, the Roosters moved into the multi-purpose Sydney Sports Ground in 1911 which served the club well until 1986 after which it was demolished to make way for the Sydney Football Stadium, now known as Allianz Stadium.
Allianz officially opened in 1988 and is home to the Roosters, NSW Waratahs (Super Rugby) and Sydney FC (A-League). Until the opening of ANZ Stadium in 1999, Allianz was the premiere football stadium in Sydney. International rugby union, rugby league and soccer have all been hosted here, including Rugby World Cup 2003, Rugby League World Cup 2008 and Olympic Soccer in 2000.
The Sydney Cricket and Sports Ground Trust manages both Allianz and its neighbour, the Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG). The Trust has released a Master Plan for the stadium which involves a number of upgrades including a clear membrane roof.
In the meantime, a number of technological upgrades have been implemented including new video screens at either end dubbed �super screens, Wi-Fi, and mobile ordering at food outlets. Also expected in the future are improved seating and improved food outlets.
Food & Beverage 3
Fans can only look forward to the proposed improvements in this area. The food offerings are generally disappointing and are priced exorbitantly.
The current offerings are of average quality and the high prices continue to rise and simply can’t be justified. Hot items available include hot dogs ($5.90), meat pies ($5.30), chicken souvlaki ($10), beef burgers ($8.80), sausage rolls ($4.80), hot chips ($5.80), and tempura fish and chips ($10.50). Under the “healthier choice” maxim are sushi pack ($10), wraps ($10) and sandwiches ($7.60).
Single serve pizzas are available from Domino’s for $9, with Meatosaurus, Hawaiian and Margherita options. There is also a gourmet sausage outlet, with prices set at $10.
Drinks are via Coca-Cola and include 600ml soft drinks ($5.40) and water ($4.70). The various bars serve draught beer ($7.40), light beer ($6.60), house wine ($7.30), pre mixed spirits ($10) and cider ($7.50). Note that a carry tray will cost an additional $1.
Any recommendation here really has to be based around how much damage you are willing to inflict on your wallet. Keep in mind that the much of the food is pre-made and pre-packaged and with a relatively small portion size – the pizzas are tiny.
Mobile ordering is via the free SCG / Allianz Stadium app.
Once a modern design, Allianz is now well-identified as needing upgrading. While the overall experience will need to continue to be upgraded, it’s still a good venue for viewing the game.
The curved roof design is the outstanding architectural feature of the stadium. The entrance includes a number of statues and plaques recognising a number of former footballing greats. At 27m by 10m, the new “super screens” are said to be the largest in Australia for the sports of rugby union, rugby league, and football.
The players tunnel is on the western side of the ground and as the television coverage is from that side, the sponsor’s logos on the playing surface face in that direction. The light towers and MA Noble and Don Bradman Stands of the SCG are visible from your seat as you look south. The eastern stand is named the Nick Shehadie Stand, after Sir Nicholas Shehadie; former Lord Mayor of Sydney, Wallaby, Chairman of the NSW Rugby Union and President of the Australian Rugby Union.
There is a good amount of Roosters banners found around the venue; a nice touch for a stadium that is used by numerous teams.
There are numerous pre-game promotions, including a free meat pie giveaway and a t-shirt toss. We attended “Heritage Round” and were therefore also treated to a parade of the 1975 premiership winning Roosters team. There’s basically no involvement from the ground announcer during play, which is a good thing. There are “get louder” messages that periodically appear on the big screens, but they’re not all that effective – not because the crowd is not engaged, more that the fans don’t need prompting.
The majority of seats available to the public are exposed to the weather, with the upper decks reserved for members and corporates. For afternoon games the eastern side will receive sun, more so the southeastern corner. Bay 35 is a hub of home team supporters known as the “Chook Pen.” Most seats offer a decent view of the game.
Allianz Stadium is centrally located minutes from the Sydney Central Business District, right next door to the Sydney Cricket Ground and Fox Studios/EQ.
Within the EQ are many cafes, restaurants and bars. PJ Gallagher’s is a popular option. The surrounding suburb also features impressive parklands including Centennial Park. Venture further afield and you will find a plethora of dining and drinking options in the nearby suburbs of Paddington and Surry Hills.
Of course, Sydney is one of the great cities of the world and if you are from out of town you should definitely do sightseeing trips to see iconic landmarks such as the Sydney Opera House and Sydney Harbour Bridge. Sydney has world famous beaches. Bondi Beach is close by or catch the ferry from Circular Quay to Manly Beach for the day.
Given its location, there is an abundance of hotels relatively close by. Look for either inner-city CBD hotels or anywhere in the eastern suburbs for good access to Moore Park.
As a high profile club, the Roosters are well-supported. The Roosters average between 14,000 and 15,000 per game which is about middle of the road for the NRL. Look for local rivalries if possible: South Sydney and St -George Illawarra in particular.
Roosters fans often get a bad rap, but this is largely unjustified. They’re passionate like any other fan base in the league, with plenty of involvement, banners and flags.
Accessing the Moore Park venues can certainly be a headache. Without a direct train line, many from the northern and western suburbs are reluctant to utilise public transport. If you do, the walk from Central Station is 20 minutes (uphill), however, on the positive side, there any many good pubs to stop at on the way.
If you’re arriving from the city, eastern or southern suburbs a bus may be a reasonable option.
Many fans choose to drive. Traffic is always an issue so plan accordingly, especially if there are other events in the precinct. Parking is available across the road in the parklands or in Fox Studios for $25. For a Roosters game plan to arrive 60 minutes or more before kickoff to beat the worst of the congestion – plus you’ll be able to watch the curtain-raiser and warm ups.
Entering the stadium is easy with a pleasant concourse. A number of the SCG Trust Walk of Honour statues are here, as well as a team store selling merchandise for the Waratahs, Roosters, and Swans. There’s a bag check but entry is quick.
There are no issues with moving around inside the stadium. Bathrooms are big but are well used and need upgrading. Ushers guard the rows leading down to the more expensive reserved seats for the entire game. Bollards are used to separate the concession stands from the remainder of the concourse.
Return on Investment 2
A game at Allianz Stadium is never a cheap day out. General admission tickets are around $30 with the most expensive category of reserved seating costing over $60. The product is good, but add the parking cost plus the expensive food and you’re starting to push it.
Cheapest Adult Ticket: $29.57 Parking: $25 Pie: $5.30 Drink: $5.40 TOTAL: $65.27
There are discounts for juniors and families. It’s best to pre purchase your ticket.
Look out for potential double headers with the Sydney Swans playing next door at the SCG. Also worth mentioning is the charity drive through the club’s major sponsor, Steggles. There are merchandise stalls inside and outside the stadium, and there are a number of stalls just outside the entry. The Roosters have a mascot and cheerleaders.
The Roosters are one of the top teams in the NRL and Allianz Stadium is a good venue to see them play, just don’t forget your wallet.
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Food and Drink Recommendations
PJ Gallagher’s Irish Pub
216/1 Bent St
Moore Park, NSW 2021
(02) 8488 2350
The Light Brigade
Oxford St & Jersey Rd
(02) 9357 0888
6 Cowper Wharf Roadway
(02) 9331 9000
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