Just what is the best Stadium in Australia?
It’s always an emotional debate, but we believe we have come up with a comprehensive list.
There are a few surprise placings, ommissions and admissions, so without further or do here’s our controversial 20-1 list of what is the best venue this country has to offer.
20 – ANZ Stadium
Only for the fact it has hosted the Sydney Olympics, memorable State of Origin/NRL Grand Finals and that wonderful night where John Aloisi got Australia into the 2006 World Cup with that penalty that ANZ Stadium in Homebush has made this list.
Other than that, it’s a concrete jungle that takes up to an hour to get to on a train from Sydney’s Central Station and looks like a very lonely and soulless place for the majority of the year.
19 – Manuka Oval
The Canberra Ground will host its first Test match in February next year and recent additions such as light towers have really seen this ground come to life.
It’s also the only place where the GWS Giants have played in front of a sold-out home crowd in its short history.
The ground also features the old MCG manual scoreboard and is located in a very nice part of our nation’s capital.
It’s come a long way from simply being the home of the PM’s XI and the Canberra Comets.
18 – Old AFL Suburban Grounds reborn in AFLW
There’s no doubting that AFLW has been a success no matter, whether you like it or not.
One of the best things about the women’s competition is the use of old footy grounds such as Princes Park (even if it has no lights), Whitten Oval, Norwood Oval and Fremantle Oval.
That has given the competition a much-needed old-fashioned suburban footy feeling.
Even Collingwood’s heartland Victoria Park will get to host two AFLW games for the first time in 2019.
AFLW has attracted a different kind of crowd of people who would have never thought to step foot into these places giving them a new lease of life.
17- GMHBA Stadium (Kardinia Park)
The Cattery has gone through a massive transformation in the past decade with new grandstands, video screens and most importantly lights installed making Geelong’s home ground very impressive.
The old terrace and Ford Stand still remains but that is set to be demolished to make way for an extension of the new grandstand taking the ground to a capacity of 45,000.
There’s no doubting the atmosphere at the Cattery is electric when Geelong is up and about and Cats fans will no longer accept home finals and home games against “big” Melbourne clubs at the MCG.
16 – Western Sydney Stadium
It’s still under construction, but we’re told it’s really good.
Don’t get us wrong, the old Parramatta Stadium had some pretty good times and the addition of the Western Sydney Wanderers gave the old girl a new lease of life but they decided it needed to be bigger and better.
The Stadium opens next year with Parramatta and even the Wests Tigers playing a few games there.
As for the Wanderers, they need to get home ASAP.
15 – The Gabba
The summer of Cricket feels weird without the Aussie’s hosting the first Test at fortress Gabba.
Australia hasn’t lost there for over 20 years and the ground refuses to budge with a drop-in pitch as much as co-tenants the Brisbane Lions and the AFL would love it.
The Gabba is a bit of a concrete bowl and maybe a bit run down, even if they put a pool in there during the summer, but the place gets pumping during a T20 and once the Lions get going (and they will soon) it will find its groove once more.
Some are calling for something to be done to the place to give it a new lease of life, but much like Jay-Z the Gabba has 99 problems but its pitch ain’t one.
14- Marvel Stadium
Docklands Stadium/Colonial Stadium/Telstra Dome/Etihad Stadium now Marvel Stadium has had an interesting history as it heads towards its 20th season as an AFL venue (feel old?).
When it first opened it was plagued by turf issues, ticketing issues, the sun facing the wrong way of the arena making the roof open a daunting prospect, access issues and was incredibly un-fan friendly – opting to please more people in its Medalian Club than the regular fan.
Legend has it that the designers forgot to build a coaches box until they were made aware of it two weeks out from the opening of the venue.
But as the stadium has developed the place has become somewhat adaptable and has tried to make an effort to win the Melbourne sporting public over.
The place has a roof, which in the middle of winter is handy, is very easy to get too on public transport and is pretty easy to get something to eat or drink and access a toilet which for all the nostalgia of suburban grounds – they do lack.
With the venue now called Marvel Stadium, it will be interesting to see what lame gimmicks are ahead of us going forward.
13 – All of the local FFA Cup Grounds
There’s no doubt that the best thing about the FFA Cup is not only all the local clubs taking on the big boys in the A-League but the use of the old community venues around the country.
While the Football itself is the main attraction, the prospect of heading out to Bentleigh Greens for a Souva, Hume City for a kebab or Bonnyrigg for a Chevapi and Pork Neck not only gets the fans excited but very hungry as well.
During the Round of 32, the Ladbrokes Blog reviewed all the grounds hosting FFA Cup matches canteens and what was on offer.
12 – North Port Oval
While the MCG is the main focus come finals footy in September, Port Melbourne’s North Port Oval takes centre stage in the VFL as it hosts weeks 1 -3 of their finals series and of course is home to the stand-alone club, The Borough.
North Port is old-school as it gets. The grand old Norm Goss Stand on the wing, the old ladies on the canteen selling pies, chips and of course scones and the Borough Burger.
Along with that you can get a cold can from the bar and stand on the hill and watch the footy. (Not to mention being able to jump the fence to listen to the coach or have a kick during the breaks)
While the old Port Melbourne ground may get the odd touch up here and there, its a venue that’s never lost its character or its charm and is worthy of making this list.
11- Metricon Stadium
While the Gold Coast Suns are yet to get their act together, when it comes to a home ground they’ve got a good one.
It was a fine venue for the Commonwealth Games (minus the Closing Ceremony) and had rain not got in the way tends to be good for T20 Cricket.
The old Carrara ground has come a long way from the days of the Brisbane Bears and Christopher Skase and is a fine boutique venue that makes for a great day out for away fans as they travel up from Victoria to escape the winter and watch their team thrash the Gold Coast Suns.
10- AAMI Park
It took a while for Melbourne to build a rectangular stadium but once the city had the Storm, Victory, Heart (now City) and Rebels they built one next to the old Olympic Park and did it very well.
With a capacity of 30,000, AAMI Park is one of the best rectangular grounds in the country, no seat is a bad one and the atmosphere at the likes of a Christmas Melbourne Derby between City and Victory or the 2015 A-League Grand Final justifies how good of a ground it is.
It also led to one of the all-time great television moments when Channel Seven reporter Amy Parks did a live cross from AAMI Park.
9 – Rod Laver Arena
Once known as “Centre Court” at Flinders Park, there’s an entire generation that thinks Rod Laver is some company that sponsors the arena that hosts Pink concerts rather than being named after one of Australia’s all-time Tennis/Sporting legends.
Not only does Rod Laver Arena host all the big Australian Open matches every summer, the place was pumping back in the day of the Melbourne Tigers and South-East Melbourne Magic and may again soon with Aussie Basketball back in fashion, it also turned into a pool for the 2007 World Swimming Championships and hosted thousands of concerts.
The place just keeps on keeping on and is currently going through a serious refurb. Along with Rod Laver Arena, the whole Melbourne Park complex is pretty damn impressive but the place formerly known as Centre Court will always be the main attraction.
8 – Central Coast Stadium
Palm Trees. Sauce Bottles. Ocean Views. Say no more!
Central Coast Stadium is awesome.
7 – Bellerive Oval
Currently known as “Blundstone Arena” the old Bellerive Oval in Hobart has undergone a recent redevelopment without losing any of its charms.
With its big grassy hill looking on to the sea its a magnificent place for both footy and Cricket.
Perhaps one day it’ll be home to a Tassie based AFL team…
6 – Leichhardt Oval
Known as the “Eighth wonder of the world” to Wests Tigers and Rugby League fans Leichhardt Oval is one of the most iconic and special venues in Rugby League.
As old school as it gets with its big grass hill on the wing, old scoreboard, cold cans and electric atmosphere on gamedays Leichardt has something that no fancy stadium can replicate.
Though it may only host a handful of games each year now, it would be a very sad day for Rugby League if they were ever to stop playing at the ground.
5 – Suncorp Stadium
There’s nothing quite like getting down to Caxton Street, stopping at the Cakko and making your way to the venue formally known as Lang Park for a State of Origin clash.
If you want the feeling for all things Queensland – you only need to step into Suncorp Stadium.
With a big statue of King Wally Lewis at the front, it’s cauldron-like set up around the ground makes it an intimidating place for any away supporter.
Be it NSW in Origin, playing against the Broncos or when the Roar and Reds are winning and the locals decide to jump on the bandwagon.
Suncorp Stadium is about to host the Horn v Mundine fight and the NRL Magic Round next year adding another chapter to the Stadium’s famous history.
4 -Optus Stadium (Perth)
Perth’s new Optus Stadium AKA “The Craypot” is very impressive. So impressive that some people have considered travelling the long way to Perth to watch their team get belted and be subject to relentless pointless booing from parochial West Coast Eagles fans. Perhaps you’re better off going there to see your team play Freo.
In its first season as an AFL venue, it played a big role in establishing another fortress for the Eagles. It’s also going to host a ztest match in December and has already been used for Big Bash and ODI’s.
Optus Stadium is so good that people from Perth think it should host the AFL Grand Final even though they have to wait until 2057.
Based on history and charm, the SCG ranks high on the list.
From the new years’ test, when the Swans are up and about and its historic links to Rugby League the SCG holds a very special and important place in the Australian sports landscape.
It’s in for a busy schedule to next year with not only the Swans but the Roosters, Waratahs and Sydney FC playing games there while the Sydney Football Stadium (Allianz) is getting rebuilt.
2- Adelaide Oval
Shutting down Football Park was the best thing that ever happened to the city of Adelaide.
As a result, the Adelaide Oval went from a beautiful little Cricket ground to one of the best stadiums in the world.
The new grandstands are magnificent, and it’s hill, trees and scoreboard still remain.
To quote Molly Meldrum “Do yourself a favour” and get yourself down to Adelaide Oval for a game of footy or Cricket. Either way, it’s worth it.
You can debate any other placing on this list but you can’t argue that the MCG is number one.
Nothing compares to the MCG.
While the likes of Adelaide and Perth has its fancy new Stadiums, the ‘G still reigns supreme.
Nothing compares to the MCG on AFL Grand Final day or the Boxing Day test or just in general.