Waratahs looking forward to first run at BankWest

Super Rugby
Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

The Waratahs are taking their 2019 road show to Sydney’s west on Saturday night and they’re looking forward to the shift for themselves and their fans.

NSW have played three of their past four home matches at the SCG as part of their revolving door of home venues being used while the Sydney Football Stadium is rebuilt.

Saturday’s move will make this their fourth home ground venue this year, having played one-off matches at Brookvale Oval and Newcastle’s McDonald Jones Stadium.

While the Waratahs have had on-field success at the SCG, winning all three of their games at the venue and a match against the Reds last year, reaction has been more mixed for spectators.

The oval venue leaves fans far away from the action when it comes to rectangle-field sports, something unavoidable but far from ideal.

The oval shape of the SCG is not ideal for rugby viewing. Photo: RUGBY.com.au/Stuart WalmsleyDeclining crowds at the venue send that message loud and clear, with just over 10,000 turning out for the Waratahs-Rebels game last weekend.

There are no such viewing issues with the new 30,000-seat Bankwest Stadium, designed mainly for rugby league and soccer.

Waratahs captain Michael Hooper said after last weekend’s SCG match that he hoped the switch would be good for both players and fans.

“I’ve only seen photos (of the stadium) and looks amazing,” he said.

“It’s nothing new for us, we’ve been a bit all over the shop this year and we'll get a good run out there.

“I think the plan was bit more time on there than usual (at captain’s run).

“It looks amazing, looks fantastic, the field and the venue and just for the fans - they've had to be a bit wider on an oval field this year so good to get them a bit closer and get out to the west as well, be very good.”

Bankwest Stadium officially opened on Monday with the NRL’s Parramatta and Wests Tigers playing in front of a sold-out crowd.

Tickets for the Waratahs match against the Sharks, which will be the first night game at the stadium, are believed to be selling well.

BankWest Stadium ahead of the first NRL game at the venue. Photo: Getty ImagesLock Jed Holloway is one Waratah who knows the Parramatta spot well having played at the oldParramatta Stadium for the Greater Sydney Rams in the NRC.

Holloway joked it would be bittersweet to return to the spot but said he was looking forward to playing at the brand-new venue.

"I'm really excited, it looks unreal the stadium," he said.

"I'm a bit sad because I was a Greater Sydney Ram, we played at the old Parramatta Stadium, but I'm looking forward to getting out there and give it a go.

"It looks unbelievable, the ground."

Saturday’s will be the first of three NSW matches at the venue this season with the Waratahs taking on the Jaguares in May and the Brumbies in June.

The Waratahs’ experience will be a litmus test for the Wallabies as well ahead of a September 7 Test against Samoa at the venue.

The Waratahs take on the Sharks at BankWest Stadium on Saturday April 27, kicking off at 7:45pm AEST, LIVE on FOX SPORTS, Kayo Sports and via RUGBY.com.au RADIO. Buy tickets here.