- A $20 million high-performance sports centre will be built for the NSW Blues State of Origin team next to Stadium Australia at Sydney Olympic Park
- A dedicated full-size training field will be part of the Blues’ new Centre of Excellence, which will be the most advanced centre of its kind in the Southern Hemisphere
- The Blues have committed to Sydney Olympic Park as their long-term home, with the NSWRL to move its administration offices from Moore Park to Greater Sydney
- The Blues’ move follows the NSW Government’s commitment to fund the redevelopment of Sydney’s Olympic Stadium, with plans to turn Stadium Australia into a world-class rectangular arena
See the full NSWRL media release here.
THE NSW Blues State of Origin squad is to have a new home base built at Sydney Olympic Park that will include a $20 million Centre of Excellence, a dedicated full-length training field and unprecedented access to their home ground Stadium Australia.
Minister for Sport Stuart Ayres has announced that Sydney Olympic Park will be the long-term home of the NSW Blues, with the NSWRL Centre of Excellence to be the most advanced high-performance sports centre in the Southern Hemisphere.
The NSWRL will move its administration offices from Moore Park to its new base in Greater Sydney, with the Centre of Excellence to also include a state-of-the-art gymnasium, hydrotherapy and rehabilitation rooms, and other specialized support facilities.
The Blues’ dedicated training field will be established at Fig Grove on Dawn Fraser Avenue, directly behind the NSWRL Centre of Excellence and next to Stadium Australia. The training field will be up and running by the end of 2016 with the Centre of Excellence in place by late 2017.
Blues players will be able to access Stadium Australia via the same tunnel that was used by Cathy Freeman and fellow athletes during the Sydney Olympics. The tunnel entrance will be close to the sidelines of the new NSWRL training field.
In announcing the $20 million NSWRL Centre of Excellence, Minister Ayres said: “This will be a game-changer for Rugby League in NSW. For over a century, NSW has been the spiritual home of Rugby League. This complex at Sydney Olympic Park will provide a pathway for emerging talent from junior representative sides through to the NSW Blues State of Origin team.
“The NSW Government is committed to providing the highest quality facilities to ensure the longevity and future success of Rugby League in this State.
NSWRL Chairman Dr George Peponis said the new Centre of Excellence would place NSWRL at the forefront of sporting organisations in Australia.
“It will be the equal or better than any high-performance facilities of any sport in the country,” Dr Peponis said.
“Most importantly, it is the obvious home for NSWRL, just across from Stadium Australia, the home of the NSW Blues.”
NSWRL Chief Executive David Trodden said support from the NSW Government and Sydney Olympic Park Authority would set the game up for long-term success at all levels.
“The benefits will extend to everyone in the NSW Rugby League family. Our junior players, refs and women’s teams will all have use of the facility and, at times, the other specialist sports grounds in the Sydney Olympic Park precinct,” Mr Trodden said.
NSW Blues State of Origin coach Laurie Daley said the state-of-the-art facilities at the NSWRL Centre of Excellence and the proximity to Stadium Australia created a wonderful opportunity for Rugby League.
“We finally have a place that we can call home,” Daley said. “Having a world-class Centre of Excellence at Sydney Olympic Park will add to the home ground advantage at Stadium Australia and will definitely improve our preparation.”
The NSWRL’s move to Sydney Olympic Park follows the NSW Government’s announcement of a $1 billion-plus investment in Sydney’s major sporting stadiums, which includes the redevelopment of Sydney’s 80,000-seat Olympic stadium.
The redevelopment will enable the Stadium to become a world-class rectangular arena with fans dramatically closer to the action, supercharging the game-day atmosphere. The Government is also considering a retractable roof to weather-proof major events like State of Origin.
The redevelopment of Stadium Australia will be complemented by a series of major infrastructure initiatives in Greater Sydney – providing game-changing access to Sydney Olympic Park.
In other exciting developments:
- Work has already begun on the $3.8 billion Phase 1 of the WestConnex motorway project, which will substan tially cut the travelling time between the CBD and Sydney Olympic Park;
- The Government is considering a proposal for a Light Rail route that aims to bring trams to the front gates of Stadium Australia and connect Greater Western Sydney. The light rail route through the Olympic Corridor begins at Westmead and connects the burgeoning Parramatta area with Rosehill, Camellia, Sydney Olympic Park, Rhodes and Strathfield;
- The Sydney Olympic Park Authority is currently reviewing its masterplan with a view to significantly increase commercial, retail and residential development in Sydney Olympic Park. This will include shops, cafes, bars, eateries and restaurants, which will reinvigorate the Sydney Olympic Park town centre and create a lively Stadium precinct.
Stadium Australia already features a heavy rail service that can move as many as 27,600 fans per hour for events like State of Origin.
Transport research shows that almost 76 per cent of all fans who attend major events at Stadium Australia use public transport, with 62 per cent using the train service to Olympic Park.