I sat on the hill at Belmore a couple of weeks ago and as the night sky sparkled and the rain poured, I pondered the meaning of life.
Just kidding. I was drinking a beer and listening to the fans around me yelling about the Raiders being offside.
A hill at any rugby league game is an experience and going ‘Back to Belmore’ was special for my dad, who still lives five minutes from the ground and finds travelling to big venues a little bit too much these days.
I often sit in the crowd for games I cover as well (little old Big League can’t find a seat in small media boxes) and it’s led to some fun and eye-opening experiences in Manly, Cronulla and Leichhardt, to name a few. I’ve also been to most of the big stadiums, travelled interstate for games and found myself at lower grade games, too.
It’s why the disagreement about stadiums in New South Wales at the moment has caught my eye. Every day I look for the update on what’s going to happen, the newest being the Roosters, Waratahs and Sydney FC have rejected the idea to build a new 55,000 seat stadium at Moore Park, because it would mean they’d have to relocate for three years while it’s under construction.
It’s a hard subject and anyone can see why the clubs themselves are wary. There’s no telling how the temporary move would affect their fan base, and at the end of the day that’s what matters most.
I do wonder though if the view is a little short-sighted. A new stadium, with better facilities and transport could actually be the catalyst to improving fans experience. Don’t we deserve that much?
I love traditional grounds as much as the next person, but they can be a headache. Finding parking? Buying food? Going to the toilet? Exiting and getting home in a timely manner? Making it in time for kick-off without having to leave the house four hours prior? You can try, but you will probably fail, or at the very least find the whole thing incredibly frustrating.
Going to the football is an event, especially for families, and it can only be a positive for more bums on seats if it’s enhanced in some way.
I have a feeling this whole thing will drag out for much longer – at least it’s keeping the drama quota up for the interested parties
And another thing… We ran a column written by veteran journo Phil Rothfield in Big League last week which outlined just some of the great things rugby league players do off the field to help the less fortunate.
It warms my cynical soul to know what a great reaction the piece got from fans. It hurts having to defend the code all the time because someone has stuffed up and the stench sticks around. Hopefully stories like this will give you plenty of ammo to come back at naysayers.
At the very least, you can flip to page 6 of our Round 7 mag to learn more about Knights halfback Trent Hodkinson’s ‘Kick for Kids’ campaign.
The Round 7 issue of Big League is on sale at newsagents and at the ground. Digital version also available through iTunes, Google Play and at www.zinio.com.