A few months back, I had my first taste of a footy game in Sydney at the AFL match. Fast forward a few months down the road, Saucer and I had some tickets to watch the Telstra Premiership NRL match! NRL, which stands for National Rugby League, is the top professional rugby league football in Australasia. The main competition sponsored by Telstra is the world’s elite rugby league championship and the single most viewed rugby football competition in the world. The match that we were attending was between the South Sydney Rabbitohs and Canterbury Bankstown Bulldogs, held at the ANZ Stadium in Sydney Olympic Park.
Sydney Olympic Park railway station
The tickets entitled us to free public transport from wherever we were to the event venue, which was pretty convenient. No worries about traffic or parking or parking fee. We hopped on the train and followed the crowd to the stadium. The weather was brilliant too, it must have been circa 18C with a mild breeze, just perfect to keep everyone cool and comfortable.
Saucer at the ANZ Stadium
First visit to the ANZ Stadium
We reached the venue about 1 hour before the match and found a massive crowd just hanging nearby, enjoying beer and pub food. It seems to be a norm here to have drinks before a match, so we joined in the fun! The queue for beer was long but efficient. We managed to get our drinks within 10 minutes of queuing, which was not too bad. We also bought some Lamb Rolls for dinner, they smelled too good.
Queue for beer
Grilled meat on roll
Posing with our dinner and the crowd
Soon, it was almost time for the match to start, so we walked towards the ANZ Stadium and headed towards our designated entrance. I liked that all our tickets had numbered seats, so we did not have to worry about not finding a seat or rushing in to get a good seat.
We were seated quite high up in the stadium, but it gave us a great bird’s eye view of the enormous field. The atmosphere was amazing, with supporters from each team shouting and chanting their hearts out. When the teams first jogged into the field, we could see the audience cheering and waving respective flags and posters, showing their utmost support for their team members!
View from our seats
The Rabbitohs warming up
Saucer at his first NRL match
There were two halves of the match of 40 minutes each. The rule of the game was pretty simple, whereby the idea is to get the ball across to the opponents goal line, to cross it and touch it down to score a try worth 4 points. Once that happens, the attacking team gets a chance to score an extra 2 points by kicking the ball across the horizontal bar across the goal posts. It was just just crazy watching the crowd go wild whenever a try or a goal was scored.
Players running in
To keep up with the score and the replays, there were two big screens to facilitate the audience. But these screens were also useful in helping the referees to make a decision in case of dispute. There were a couple of times when the Bulldogs scored a borderline try and they had to look at video replays to determine whether it was a legitimate try or not. At the end of the match, the score came up to 32 vs 8 to the Bulldogs. Congratulations to the winning team! Here’s wishing them luck in the grand finals!
The big screen
GOAL! Spot the ball heading towards the horizontal bar