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Exclusive first-look inside Western Sydney Stadium

Construction of the new-look Western Sydney Stadium is full steam ahead, with the NSW Government giving early access to the media for an exclusive first look at the development so far. 

Wood & Grieve Engineers (WGE) is proud to be associated with the project, working with our clients Venues NSW and Infrastructure NSW in a technical advisor role underneath the project management of Price Waterhouse Cooper (PwC).

Below is an excerpt from Fairfax’s chief sports reporter Andrew Webster who, it’s fair to say, is impressed with what he has seen so far…

Is there such a thing as love at first sight? And what if that love was for a stadium, even for one that isn’t yet completed?

Your humble columnist was given an exclusive look on Thursday at the new Western Sydney Stadium and, well, it’s love, baby. L.O.V.E.

The first thing you notice when you are introduced to the artist formerly known as Parramatta Stadium is how steep the seating is.

The playing field is sunk seven metres below ground level, and rising out of that is 30,000 seats at a 34-degree angle. That is the steepest in the world and more than Brisbane’s Suncorp Stadium, which is considered the best rectangular stadium in the country despite it being most often filled with Queenslanders.

If you’ve been to Levi’s Stadium, the home of the San Francisco 49ers, or even La Bombonera, the home of Boca Juniors in Buenos Aires, you’ll understand how close supporters feel to the pitch and players. This stadium already has a similar feel, even if it is a construction site.

There’s an LED big screen in one corner and a wide, open concourse that wraps around the entire stadium, allowing fans to buy a beer and some hot chips and then turn around and look directly below at the footy.

It is, in every sense, a modern-day Colosseum. Given the way Parramatta are playing this season, they deserve to be thrown to the lions.  Of course, you would never say this in front of the 300 or so workers who have the $300 million project humming along and on track to be completed by late April.

“Most of them are sports fanatics — they take pride in what they are building,” Lend Lease construction manager Richard Yarad says. “There are a lot of Parramatta and Wanderers fans working on-site. They are the ones who will be using this stadium when it’s finished.”

Park all the politics and cranky letters to the editor about the NSW government’s controversial stadium strategy to one side for a moment. This stadium, when completed, will show Sydneysiders what life will be like with world-class sporting facilities. They, too, will learn to love going to sport again.

NSW Sports Minister Stuart Ayres hasn’t been feeling much love as he presses ahead with the plan to rebuild Allianz Stadium and refurbish ANZ Stadium.  He hopes, though, the Western Sydney Stadium will be a “game changer”.

“Apart from the Olympic Stadium, we haven’t had a new stadium in Sydney since the 1980s,” Ayres said. “Every city has had one or more built, but we haven’t since Allianz in 1988 and Parramatta in 1986. It’s time Sydney sports fans had the game-day experience they deserve and that other cities are having.”

Other features of the stadium include state-of-the-art technology under the playing surface that works like a vacuum cleaner, sucking moisture out if there has been too much rain; a standing area for the Red and Black Bloc; vast female-friendly amenities, which means no more lines snaking out into the carpark; and plenty of space around the stadium, allowing for big crowds and activation areas.

So, in summary, if you want to know what love is, this stadium can show you.

Article courtesy of the Sydney Morning Herald; first published 14 June 2018.