Footy Fans, NRL Praise The Rebuilt Bankwest Stadium
NRL coaches, players and fans have joined boss Todd Greenberg in hailing Bankwest Stadium as a "game-changer" that could provide the blueprint for future arenas.
A sellout crowd of 29,047 witnessed history on Monday when Parramatta thrashed the Wests Tigers 51-6 in the first event at the stadium.
It was the perfect opening night for a long-suffering fanbase, who were forced to wait over two years to return to their $330 million home.
And the early feedback suggests it was worth the wait.
"There's no doubt this is a game changer. The venue will re-define the event experience for rugby league fans," Greenberg said after the game.
"It's been a long time coming. The facilities are incredible and the view from every seat is fantastic."
"This is about bringing more fans to the footy. The live experience is an amazing one. This is world-class standard for a rectangular sport."
Bankwest is the first plank of the NSW government's stadia plan that also includes the reconstruction of Allianz Stadium and ANZ Stadium refurbishment.
Allianz is already deep into its demolition, and Greenberg indicated his league's average attendances would rise if a similar venue is built in Moore Park.
It is believed the new stadium will be worth around $730 million.
"This is a big moment for rugby league," Greenberg said.
"Bankwest Stadium is the first of a number of new-era stadiums that will come online over the next five years."
"The development of world-class rectangular stadia will be critical to driving live attendance for the premiership, as well as other rugby league events."
"This time next year we'll have a brand new stadium in Townsville, and obviously two more in Sydney (after that)."
HALF TIME | The Eels will head to the sheds with a 30-6 lead. Two tries to Jennings and tries to Moses, Takairangi and Salmon.— Parramatta Eels (@TheParraEels) April 22, 2019
Match Centre: https://t.co/e8QJs45tkZ #PARRAdise pic.twitter.com/3NpxGXON8R
It was a night to remember for Eels fans, the bulk of which made up a heaving crowd in a noisy, coliseum-like atmosphere.
And with a surface seven metres below ground level, it wasn't far from the truth.
Parramatta scored nine tries to one as the faithful - sitting in the steepest grandstands in the country - bayed for more points.
"Running out to that crowd was outstanding. I just hope we can do that every home game," five-eighth Mitchell Moses said.
Even Tigers coach Michael Maguire, whose side plays four games at the ground this season, put aside his disappointment to praise the venue.
"I reckon it's one of the best things that's happened to rugby league for some quite time," Maguire said.
"That hurt obviously, having that scoreline out there. But to me, I think this is going to change the game.
"When we get our new stadium in town, I think it's going to go up another level."
"Well done to the Parramatta fans, and obviously we'll get our turn when we play our home game here and we'll get our fans to turn up to the game."
"But it was a complete spectacle out there."