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Rugby fans in Australia are as lucky as anywhere in the world. The land down under is home to the best domestic rugby league competition in the world, one of the best rugby union leagues in the world, and plenty of quality internationals. There are a plethora of nearby places at which high-level rugby can be watched live, both union and league, and these are some of the best of them.
Sydney is the heartland of the NRL, Australia’s national rugby league competition and what is generally regarded as the best in the world. Of the 16 teams in the league, nine are based in Sydney, each of them playing at their own unique home grounds. These include quality stadiums like Bankwest Stadium in Parramatta, Leichhardt Oval in Lilyfield and Panthers Stadium in Penrith, while the home of the NRL Grand Final, Stadium Australia, is located out west.
And that’s just the NRL experiences you can enjoy in Australia’s biggest city. Each year the State of Origin also plays one game there, and the passionate crowds at these games make for one of the best sporting experiences worldwide. Add in the ability to catch the Super Rugby’s NSW Waratahs, who are this year splitting games between Bankwest Stadium, Stadium Australia and the SCG, and the Harbour City is truly home to a veritable smorgasbord of rugby.
Though there are a host of great things to do in Brisbane, rugby fans head to the Queensland capital for one main reason – to visit Suncorp Stadium. Long renowned as one of the best stadiums in the NRL, Brisbane’s home of rugby is where one of the most popular teams in the league, the Brisbane Broncos, ply their trade, and with an average of nearly 40,000 passionate fans walking through the turnstiles each game, the atmosphere is typically electric. And while nothing beats experiencing a game live, there are an array of quality pubs nearby which are the next best thing.
But as good as Suncorp Stadium gets for a big Broncos game, that’s nothing compared to when the State of Origin comes to town. The stadium fills with maroon as Queensland takes on NSW in one of the most heated rivalries in world sport, and attending an Origin game here is a bucket list item for most rugby fans in Australia.
Melbourne certainly isn’t renowned for its passionate support of rugby league – it’s an AFL city through and through, and if you’re after the biggest crowds possible, the MCG on a Friday night is likely to be where you’ll find it, while Flemington on Melbourne Cup Day is right up there too. But all that doesn’t mean the city doesn’t know how to put on a game of rugby. Melbourne Storm’s AAMI Park is located right in the centre of one of the greatest sporting precincts in the world, and the stadium is every bit as good as you would expect it to be. Every seat there has you feeling as though you’re right amongst the thick of the action, and given it’s a one-team city, Melbourne’s rugby fans are far more passionate than they’re often given credit for – and the three Premierships the Storm have won since 2012 certainly help.
And it’s not just AAMI Park where you can catch some quality rugby action. The MCG is almost unequivocally the best sporting arena in Australia, and while it’s typically reserved for AFL and cricket, the occasional rugby game is played there too. In fact, in 2021 the opening State of Origin game is set to be played there, and the game is expected to go down to the wire – check out the odds with Betway for this year’s State of Origin. With a capacity of up to 100,000 people, it will be well and truly worth the price of a plane ticket.
Australia has a huge number of quality rugby stadiums to visit, with high-level games of league and union being played throughout the year in a variety of locations. Sydney is no doubt the king of the sport, and visitors there are treated to a plethora of rugby league options throughout the course of the NRL season. However, Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane makes for an equally worthwhile trip and even Melbourne can hold its own, and this array of options shows just how lucky rugby fans in Australia are.
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