- Saturday 15 September is the 18th anniversary of the start of the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games;
- On 15 September 2000, Cathy Freeman lit the Cauldron at the Opening Ceremony, before 10 days later racing to gold in the women’s 400m;
- The Olympic Cauldron will be lit between 1.30pm and 7.30pm this Saturday to commemorate the Games;
- The Cauldron now stands proudly in Cathy Freeman Park outside Stadium Australia;
- The Rabbitohs and Dragons last played in an NRL semi-final 34 years ago, and their game at Stadium Australia on Saturday is on the 18th anniversary of the Games.
IT’S 18 years this Saturday since Sydney hosted “The Best Ever” Olympic Games . . . and the big events keep rolling at Stadium Australia, with South Sydney Rabbitohs playing St George Illawarra Dragons in an NRL semi-final for the ages on the anniversary of the Games.
On the night of 15 September 2000, Australia’s golden girl Cathy Freeman lit the Cauldron at the Opening Ceremony of the Sydney Olympic Games in front of a then capacity crowd of 110,000 at the Stadium.
This Saturday night, around the same time 18 years later, the Rabbitohs and Dragons will kick off in the NRL 2nd Semi-Final – with the winner just one step from the 2018 NRL Telstra Premiership Grand Final at Stadium Australia on Sunday 30 September.
Where were you on the night of 15 September 2000? Were you at the Sydney Olympic Stadium that night? Or one of the 3.7 billion TV viewers around the world who tuned in to the momentous events unfolding in Sydney?
And where will you be this Saturday night? Will you be at Stadium Australia watching NRL finals history unfold?
NRL Chief Commercial Officer Andrew Abdo said: “There are no second chances so I’d encourage fans of both teams to get behind their Clubs for what will no doubt be a great contest at Stadium Australia.
“To have two traditional rivals involved in such a significant Finals match – more than 30 years after Souths last played the Dragons in a final – will be something to remember.
“We’ve got a great weekend of footy for Sydney ahead of us.
“This is the chance for all these teams to really make an impact on the Finals Series.”
Fine weather is forecast across the weekend. In a huge weekend of NRL semi-final action:
- Friday night features the NRL 1st Semi-Final, Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks v Penrith Panthers at Allianz Stadium (kick-off 7.40pm), preceded by the Holden Women’s Premiership match Sydney Roosters v Brisbane Broncos (kick-off 5.10pm). Gates open 5pm;
- Saturday night features the NRL 2nd Semi-Final, South Sydney Rabbitohs v St George Illawarra Dragons (kick-off 7.40pm), preceded by the Holden Women’s NRL Premiership match St George Illawarra Dragons v New Zealand Warriors (kick-off 5.10pm ). Gates open 4.55pm.
Almost 27.5 million fans have passed through the turnstiles to watch major sport and entertainment events at Stadium Australia since it opened in the March 1999 in the lead-up to the Sydney Olympics.
Another huge crowd is expected on Saturday night, and fans are being strongly encouraged to take advantage of the fact all tickets include return transport to Olympic Park on Sydney Trains.
Stadium Australia CEO Daryl Kerry said: “We all remember where we were 18 years ago and we have another fantastic event this Saturday at the Stadium on the anniversary of the Games.
“We are encouraging fans to get into the spirit of the Games and get out to the footy this weekend. The message for Saturday at Stadium Australia is to leave the car at home if you can, take advantage of the fact all tickets include return train travel to Olympic Park, and to arrive early to make the most of the festivities.”