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A dazzling light display, traditional Indigenous blessing and a moving tribute to some of Victoria’s greatest sporting moments will feature at the official opening of Melbourne’s AAMI Park tonight, in an historic VB Test pre-match show celebrating the state’s passion for sport and the newest chapter in its sporting history.

In front of a capacity crowd and live television audiences in Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne, Australia’s newest sporting stadium will officially be declared open when Rugby League’s all-time highest point scorer, Hazem El Masri, kicks a ceremonial goal just moments before the VB Kangaroos and New Zealand become the first teams to officially enter the field.

From nightfall, a state-of-the-art laser display will light the AAMI Park precinct and Melbourne skyline, signaling the countdown to tonight’s VB Test match, while inside the stadium fans will re-live some of Victoria’s greatest sporting moments through a high-tech display of historical footage projected onto the field.

The emotional tribute will travel the history of the Melbourne Park site on which AAMI Park now stands and recount historic Victorian sporting moments including the 1956 Olympic Games, Formula 1 Grand Prix, 2006 Commonwealth Games, Shane Warne’s hat-trick in the 1994 Boxing Day Test and the achievements of wonder horse Phar Lap.

Senior elder of the Wurundjeri people, Joy Wandin Murphy AO, will give a traditional welcome to country and blessing, while accomplished didgeridoo musician, Ron Murray, a descendent of the Wamba Wamba tribe and the Tatiara tribe, will give the stadium’s first on-field performance.

The Australian National Anthem will be performed by rising singer-songwriter, Katie Noonan, who will be accompanied by the ‘Young Voices of Melbourne’, one of Australia’s finest children’s choirs.

Rotorua pop/classical singer Elizabeth Marvelly will perform the New Zealand National Anthem which, in keeping with the traditions of Test match Rugby League, will be followed by the Haka.

“It’s an important night for Melbourne and Rugby League is proud to be the sport chosen to open Australia’s newest sporting stadium,” ARL Chief Executive, Mr Colin Love AM, said today.

“The scale of the activity around the venue and the pre-match build-up will pay tribute to Melbourne’s sporting history and reflect the significance of the occasion.

“Major Rugby League events have enjoyed remarkable support in Melbourne and the opening of AAMI Park marks a significant step forward for the code in Victoria.”

Tonight’s VB Test match will be broadcast live on Channel Nine in Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne from 7:30pm.

VB Test Match
6:00pm: Gates open at AAMI Park, Melbourne
7:30pm: Pre-match show commences
8:00pm: VB Test Match - VB Kangaroos v New Zealand

Acknowledgement of Country

National Rugby League respects and honours the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

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