Lang Park

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Suncorp Stadium or Brisbane Stadium
The Cauldron
Suncorp Stadium logo.png
Suncorp-Stadium-Milton-Queensland.jpg
Former names John Brown Oval
Suncorp-Metway Stadium
Lang Park
Location 40 Castlemaine St, Milton, Queensland
Coordinates 27°27′53″S 153°0′34″E / 27.46472°S 153.00944°E / -27.46472; 153.00944Coordinates: 27°27′53″S 153°0′34″E / 27.46472°S 153.00944°E / -27.46472; 153.00944
Owner Queensland Government
Operator AEG Ogden (Brisbane) Pty Ltd
Capacity 52,500
Record attendance 52,499 (Australia v British and Irish Lions, 22 June 2013)
Surface Grass
Construction
Broke ground 1911
Opened 1914
Construction cost A$ 280 miliion (redevelopment)
Architect Populous
Structural engineer Ove Arup & Partners
Tenants
Queensland (State of Origin) (1980–present)
Brisbane Broncos (NRL) (1988–1992, 2003–present)
Queensland Reds (Super Rugby) (2005–present)
Brisbane Roar (A-League) (2005–present)
South Queensland Crushers (ARL) (1995–1997)
Brisbane Strikers (NSL) (1994–1999)

Lang Park is the original name of the site located in the Brisbane suburb of Milton, Queensland, Australia, now occupied by the major sports facility known by its sponsorship name, Suncorp Stadium (formerly Suncorp-Metway Stadium). Lang Park is also known as Brisbane Stadium when in use during AFC competitions due to conflicting sponsorship reasons.

The current facility comprises a three tiered rectangular sporting stadium with a capacity of 52,500 people. Some[who?] suggest the enclosed stands situated on the sidelines make it arguably the best rectangular stadium in Australia for spectator viewing and atmosphere for rugby league, rugby union and soccer. The top tier is closed for events less than 30,000 enhancing the intimacy.

Lang Park was established in 1914, on the site of a former cemetery, and in its early days was home to a number of different sports, including cycling, athletics and soccer. The lease of the park was taken over by rugby league and it became the home of the game in Queensland in 1957 (and remains so to this day). It has also been the home ground of major rugby union and soccer matches in Queensland since its modern redevelopment, including the Queensland Reds and the Brisbane Roar, and some Wallabies and Socceroos matches. It hosted the 2008 Rugby League World Cup Final.

History[edit]

Origins[edit]

The site of Lang Park was originally the North Brisbane Burial Grounds, and until 1875 was Brisbane's primary cemetery. By 1911 the area was heavily populated, so the Paddington Cemeteries Act (1911) was introduced and the site was redeveloped as a recreational site. In 1914 it was fenced off and named Lang Park after John Dunmore Lang.[1][2]

1937 soccer match at Lang Park Milton, (looking towards Milton Road) - teams not known

The ground was leased by the Queensland Amateur Athletics Association (QAAA) in the 1920s. In 1935, the Queensland Soccer Council (QSC) became a sub-tenant of the QAAA, with a view to using it as the home ground for Brisbane soccer fixtures (leaving its former home, the Brisbane Cricket Ground).[3] The Latrobe Soccer Club, in turn, became a sub-tenant of the QSC, using the ground for its home games (see image below).

However, by 1937, the QSC was considering sub-leasing Lang Park to "another code of football" (most likely Western Suburbs Rugby League) as it "was not satisfied with the financial returns ... under the sub-lease to the Latrobe-Milton club".[4] Latrobe in turn responded that "'If no action Is taken to introduce the Ipswich clubs into the Brisbane competition this' season ... the Latrobe-Milton Club cannot accept an increase in rental for Lang Park. Give us competition play with Ipswich and my club will hold the ground as headquarters for the code."[5] On 11 February 1950, the official opening of the Lang Park Police Citizens Youth Club took place and youth activities commenced because of the concerns with the increase of juvenile delinquency. Activities such as boxing, wrestling, basketball and gymnastics all occur at these premises to this day. Contemporaneous records are scant, but it appears the QSC did not renew the lease the ground after the intervening World War II. In 1953 the Brisbane Rugby League (BRL) amalgamated with the Queensland Rugby League (QRL). QRL secretary Ron McAullife negotiated a 21 year lease of Lang Park from the Brisbane City Council in order to give the QRL a financially viable base of operations. The park had only the most basic facilities, and the QRL contributed £17,000 to its development. Lang Park hosted its first game of first grade rugby league during the 1930s, with regular BRL games commencing there in 1955. In 1958 it hosted its first Brisbane rugby league grand final in which Brothers defeated Valleys 22 points to 7.[6] A record crowd of 19,824 saw Northern Suburbs defeat Fortitude Valley at Lang Park in the BRL grand final in September 1961.[7] Fonda Metassa became a part of Lang Park folklore when he famously burst from the back of an ambulance to return to the field after being carted off injured in a match for Norths against Redcliffe in 1960s. As the ground was used increasingly by the QRL, it became no longer viable for use as a public recreation facility. In 1962 the Lang Park Trust was created under an act of Parliament. This allowed for the construction of the Frank Burke Stand (1962), Ron McAuliffe Stand (1975) and the Western Grandstand (1994). The Trust had on its board one member from the Queensland Government, one member from the Brisbane City Council, two members from the Queensland Rugby League and one member from the Brisbane Rugby League.[8]

From the 1960s Lang Park hosted interstate and international rugby league, including the inaugural State of Origin match. Up until 1972, it was the home ground of the Western Suburbs Panthers and from 1988 to 1992 it was also the home ground of the Brisbane Broncos.

In 1994, the stadium's name was changed to Suncorp Stadium, when naming sponsorship was attained by Queensland financial institution, Suncorp-Metway Limited. On 25 May 1997 the 1996/1997 National Soccer League Grand final was played in front of then a capacity crowd of 40,446, where the Brisbane Strikers F.C. defeated Sydney United FC 2–0.

Redevelopment[edit]

Outside the entrance to the Suncorp Stadium. The mural, seen at right, depicts some Queensland legends of the game.

In the late 1990s, it was decided that Brisbane needed a state of the art rectangular stadium. Suncorp Stadium was chosen as the site. The $280 million redevelopment commenced in July 2001 after Game One of the 2001 State of Origin series. The redevelopment was completed in time for the match between the Brisbane Broncos and Newcastle Knights on 1 June 2003; Brisbane's first game at Suncorp Stadium for more than a decade.

The stadium is now a 52,500 state of the art all-seater rectangular stadium, a far cry from the former Lang Park oval with two grandstands set back from a perimeter road. The only remaining stand from before the redevelopment is the Western Grandstand. The extension of the facility resulted in the demolition of a number of buildings along Milton Road, including the former Brisbane City Council trolley-bus depot.

During their relocating year, the Broncos only recorded one win at the venue, against the Sydney Roosters in Round 16, 2003, unlike one loss at their previous home, ANZ Stadium in Round 5, 2003, against the New Zealand Warriors.

Following its redevelopment, questions were raised about the standard of the surface, which was soft underfoot and sandy and was blamed for a spate of injuries to rugby league players using it (temporarily earning the stadium the nickname "Sandcorp Stadium" [1]). Prior to the redevelopment, the stadium was known as "The Cauldron", and Queensland fans developed a reputation for vocal support of their teams, adding to this mythology.

Suncorp Stadium before the Australia vs Paraguay soccer international

Suncorp Stadium suffered major damage as a result of the 2010–2011 Queensland floods with the entire playing field being covered by flood water.[9] As a result, an electrical fire started in a transformer room, however there was no major damage from the fire.[10] Brisbane Roar's match with Wellington Phoenix, originally scheduled for the weekend of 14–16 January, was postponed until 26 January, and the remaining Brisbane Roar home matches were relocated to Skilled Park on the Gold Coast. Suncorp Stadium was out of action until late February, but restored just in time for the NRL season kick-off. However, temporary change rooms have been set up as the original change rooms were damaged as a result of the floods. The original change room was restored in time for the 2012 NRL season kick-off.

Today[edit]

Although the stadium has been the traditional home of rugby league in Queensland, it has also become the state's premier venue for soccer, as well as rugby union. The re-developed Suncorp Stadium first hosted rugby union games at the 2003 Rugby World Cup and in 2005, the stadium became the new home of the Queensland Reds Super Rugby team when they moved from their former home at Ballymore Stadium.[2] This move caused some disquiet amongst rugby traditionalists, however was accepted by Queensland Rugby Union CEO Theo Psaros, who said that "our hearts may be at Ballymore but our heads say it's time to move."[3]. The year before the Reds' move, the newly established football team Queensland Roar of the A-League also elected to play their home games at Suncorp Stadium.

New Zealand rugby journalist Wynne Gray called Suncorp Stadium perhaps the best rugby stadium in the world. "It is so intimate you can hear the smack of bodies, the boot on leather, you feel the power and rhythm of the games."[11]

The stadium has also been favourably compared to Cardiff's Millennium Stadium and London's Twickenham Stadium.[12]

On 29 July 2006 the Bledisloe Cup clash between Australia and the All Blacks returned to Brisbane for the first time in over a decade for the 2006 Tri Nations Series. Though Australia narrowly lost the match, the game saw a new ground record set.

Inside Suncorp Stadium during NRL game

A month later on 7 October the stadium hosted a 1–1 friendly soccer game between Australia and Paraguay in which Tony Vidmar, Stan Lazaridis, Zeljko Kalac and goal scorer Tony Popovic all retired from international football.

On 8 November 2006 a crowd of 44,358 at Suncorp Stadium saw the Great Britain national rugby league team play against Australia for the last time.

On Wednesday 13 and Thursday 14 December, Suncorp Stadium hosted its first music concert since the 1980s and the stadium's redevelopment when Robbie Williams performed in front of two 52,413 sell-out crowds during his "Close Encounters" tour of Australia, and was the venue for the U2 360 tour in December 2010. That same month the stadium hosted Bon Jovi as part of The Circle Tour.

Suncorp Stadium was also the site of the 2011 A-League Grand Final, drawing a crowd of over 50,000 for the climactic football event. The match was one of the dramatic in A-League history, with the Brisbane Roar scoring two goals in the last five minutes to level the scores with the Central Coast Mariners after several hundred home supporters had left the stadium early, many returning after hearing the stadium erupt while waiting for the train. The Roar went on to win 4–2 in the penalty shootout, making for an incredible victory.

The stadium is also home to the Lang Park Police Citizens Youth Club.

American Singer-Songwriter Taylor Swift played at Suncorp Stadium for her Red Tour on 7 December 2013.

Crowd Averages[edit]

Team Sport Crowd Average Season
Queensland (State of Origin) Rugby League 52,498 2011
Wallabies Rugby Union 47,444 2012 International Rugby Union Tests
Brisbane Broncos Rugby League 33,354 2014
Queensland Reds Rugby Union 28,500 2014 Super Rugby season
Brisbane Roar Football 14,128 2012–13

Popular culture[edit]

In the 1980s Brisbane rugby league icon Wally Lewis became known as The Emperor of Lang Park after his performances in State of Origin matches played at the ground. Brisbane-based beer XXXX, which is brewed at the nearby Castlemaine Brewery, ran a television advertisement celebrating this title in song.

Here's to Wally Lewis for lacing on a boot
Sometimes he plays it rugged, sometimes he plays it cute
He slices through a backline like a Stradbroke Island shark
There's glue on all his fingers, he's the Emperor of Lang Park[8]

There are bronze statues of Wally Lewis and Darren Lockyer and the legendary Arthur Beetson are erected outside the stadium.

The stadium has been nicknamed Fortress Suncorp for the Wallabies due to their impressive record at the redeveloped venue.[13]

It is also known colloquially in rugby league circles as "the Cauldron", especially by visiting teams. This is due to how difficult it is for visiting teams to escape with a win under their belt, and the fact that when large crowds are present verbal communication is almost non-existent between players as their voices are inevitably lost beneath the roar of the crowd. This is also due to Suncorp Stadiums perfect rectangular stadium design, where patrons are almost sitting on top of the players: the roar has been indicated to develop a noise higher than the Melbourne Cricket Ground and ANZ Stadium but slightly quieter than Adelaide Oval, many high class players have also indicated the atmosphere value of Suncorp Stadium.

In 2006, Queensland Minister for Sport, Tom Barton introduced the Stadium'd Sports Media Hall of Fame which honours the achievements of media representatives who have covered the two major football codes (Rugby League and Rugby Union) played at this historic ground over the past 40 years.[14] So far there are three inductees: rugby league commentator George Lovejoy, rugby league journalist Jack Reardon and Frank O'Callaghan.

Concerts[edit]

Date[15] Performer(s) Attendance
13–14 December 2006 Robbie Williams 104,992
22 January 2008 The Police 25,391
3–4 December 2008 André Rieu 46,835
8–9 December 2010 U2 84,011
14 December 2010 Bon Jovi 40,520
21 November 2012 Coldplay 52,497
7 December 2013 Taylor Swift 38,907
17 December 2013 Bon Jovi 41,376
20 February 2014 Eminem 43,927
11 February 2015 One Direction -

Accessibility[edit]

Controversially, the redevelopment was the first major sporting facility in Australia with no car parking, primarily due to concerns with traffic congestion in the surrounding residential neighborhood. The stadium's proximity to pubs, restaurants, cafes, bars and the XXXX brewery, together with dedicated pedestrian links to Milton railway station and Brisbane CBD adds to the match day experience and is seen as a model for new stadiums and large entertainment venues. The stadium redevelopment has been the catalyst for the Barracks urban renewal development at Petrie Terrace midway along the dedicated pedestrian link to the CBD.

Walking Pedestrian access
  • Suncorp Stadium is within walking distance of the CBD area of Brisbane.
Bus Bus access
  • Suncorp Stadium is close to bus-stops for the
  • 375 City bus. The bus route is Bardon (outbound) — Stafford (via city – inbound)
The BUZ bus runs every 10–15 minutes, 6am to 11pm, 7 days a week.
  • Frequent shuttle bus services are provided by Brisbane Transport on match days and for special events, typically from the CBD, Chermside, Carindale and Eight Mile Plains to the bus station under the stadium concourse.
Train Train access
  • Suncorp Stadium is easily accessible from Citytrain stations
  • Ticket holders are granted free transport on match days:with additional trains scheduled to Milton before and after all major events.
Car There is no public parking at the Stadium. However, paid parking stations are available within 10 minute walking distance in the CBD.

Facts[edit]

Record crowd 52,499 – Rugby Union, 22 June 2013
Australia vs British & Irish Lions
2013 British and Irish Lions tour to Australia
Video screen Yes (x2)
Lights Yes
Sports played Rugby league, Rugby union, Soccer
Annual events State of Origin series, Queensland Cup Grand Final
Historic events 1968 Rugby League World Cup
1975 Rugby League World Cup
1977 Rugby League World Cup
1980 State of Origin game
2003 Rugby Union World Cup
2008 Rugby League World Cup (plus the Final)
2011 Super Rugby Final
2011 A-League Grand Final
2012 A-League Grand Final
2014 A-League Grand Final
1993 FIFA World Youth Championship*
* The first golden goal since the 1993 rule change by FIFA was in March 1993 by Australia against Uruguay in a quarterfinal match at the FIFA World Youth Championships at Suncorp Stadium, Qld, Australia
2015 AFC Asian Cup.

2015 AFC Asian Cup[edit]

Date Time (UTC+10) Team #1 Res. Team #2 Round Attendance
10 January 2015 19:00  Saudi Arabia Match 4  China PR Group B
12 January 2015 19:00  Jordan Match 8  Iraq Group D
14 January 2015 19:00  China PR Match 12  Uzbekistan Group B
16 January 2015 19:00  Iraq Match 16  Japan Group D
17 January 2015 19:00  Australia Match 17  South Korea Group A
19 January 2015 19:00  Iran Match 21  United Arab Emirates Group C
22 January 2015 20:30 Winner Group B Match 26 Runner-up Group A Quarter-finals

Controversy[edit]

On Saturday, 16 June 2011, The Weekend Australian revealed that Suncorp Stadium was in danger of either losing the hosting rights to all Queensland based NRL finals matches to Sydney, or having its capacity limited to 25,000 seats, due to a condition included in the legislation regarding the Stadium's redevelopment that only 24 'special events' (i.e. with attendance in excess of 25,000) a year can hosted at the venue. This number of special events was reached when the Brisbane Broncos faced the Manly Sea Eagles in Round 26 of the 2011 NRL Telstra Premiership Season. On 6 September 2011, legislation was passed to lift the crowd capacity limit to 35,000 for those 24 events, enabling the Broncos to host finals matches should they progress that far. [16]

Rugby League test matches[edit]

The following rugby league test and World Cup matches have been played at the venue.[17]

Test No. Date Result Attendance Notes
1 30 July 1962 Great Britain def. Australia 17-10 34,766
2 22 June 1963 New Zealand def. Australia 16-13 30,748
3 20 July 1963 Australia def. South Africa 34-6 10,210
4 4 July 1964 Australia def. France 27-2 20,076
5 16 July 1966 Australia def. Great Britain 6-4 45,057 pre redevelopment attendance record
6 1 July 1967 Australia def. New Zealand 35-22 30,122
7 1 June 1968 Australia def. New Zealand 31-12 23,608 Match played as part of the 1968 World Cup
8 8 June 1968 Australia def. France 37-4 32,664 Match played as part of the 1968 World Cup
9 6 June 1970 Australia def. Great Britain 37-15 42,807
10 15 July 1972 Australia def. New Zealand 31-7 20,847
11 1 June 1975 Australia def. New Zealand 36-8 12,000 Match played as part of the 1975 World Cup
12 10 June 1975 Wales def. England 12-7 6,000 Match played as part of the 1975 World Cup
13 22 June 1975 Australia def. France 26-6 9,000 Match played as part of the 1975 World Cup
14 18 June 1977 Australia def. Great Britain 15-5 27,000 Match played as part of the 1977 World Cup
15 15 July 1978 Australia def. New Zealand 38-7 14,000
16 16 July 1979 Australia def. Great Britain 35-0 23,051
17 18 July 1981 Australia def. France 17-2 14,000
18 3 July 1982 Australia def. New Zealand 11-8 11,400
19 9 July 1983 New Zealand def. Australia 19-12 15,000
20 26 June 1984 Australia def. Great Britain 18-6 26,534
21 18 June 1985 Australia def. New Zealand 26-20 22,000
22 29 July 1986 Australia def. New Zealand 32-12 22,811 Match played as part of the 1985-88 World Cup
23 21 July 1987 New Zealand def. Australia 13-6 16,500
24 28 June 1988 Australia def. Great Britain 34-14 27,130
25 31 July 1991 Australia def. New Zealand 40-12 29,139 Match played as part of the 1989-92 World Cup
26 3 July 1992 Australia def. Great Britain 16-10 32,313 Match played as part of the 1989-92 World Cup
27 30 June 1993 Australia def. New Zealand 16-4 32,000
28 23 June 1995 Australia def. New Zealand 26-8 25,309
29 14 July 1995 Australia def. New Zealand 46-10 20,803
30 11 July 1997 Australia def. Rest of the World 28-8 14,927 Only test match played for the ARL test team for 1997
31 9 October 1998 Australia def. New Zealand 30-12 18,501
32 22 October 1999 Australia def. Great Britain 42-6 12,511 Match played as part of the 1999 Tri-Nations
33 25 April 2005 Australia def. New Zealand 32-16 40,317 2005 Anzac Test
34 5 May 2006 Australia def. New Zealand 50-16 44,191 2006 Anzac Test
35 18 November 2006 Australia def. Great Britain 33-10 44,358 Match played as part of the 2006 Tri-Nations
36 20 April 2007 Australia def. New Zealand 30-6 35,241 2007 Anzac Test
37 15 November 2008 New Zealand def. England 32-22 26,659 Match played as part of the 2008 World Cup
38 23 November 2008 New Zealand def. Australia 34-20 50,509 2008 World Cup Final. Record Test attendance at Lang Park
39 8 May 2009 Australia def. New Zealand 38-10 37,152 2009 Anzac Test
40 13 November 2010 New Zealand def. Australia 16-12 36,299 2010 Four Nations Final

References[edit]

  1. ^ Suncorp Stadium History retrieved 1 August 2014
  2. ^ "Paddington Cemeteries.". The Brisbane Courier (Qld. : 1864 - 1933) (Qld.: National Library of Australia). 13 June 1914. p. 4. Retrieved 1 August 2014. 
  3. ^ Brisbane Courier Mail - 30 March 1935
  4. ^ Brisbane Courier Mail - 21 January 1937
  5. ^ Brisbane Courier Mail - 29 January 1937
  6. ^ Gallaway, Jack Origin: Rugby League's Greatest Contest 1980–2002 University of Queensland Press, 2003 ISBN 0-7022-3383-8
  7. ^ "Norths thrash Valleys 29–5". The Sun-Herald (Australia). 24 September 1961. Retrieved 22 April 2010. 
  8. ^ a b McGregor, Adrian King Wally University of Queensland Press, 1986 ISBN 0-7022-2037-X
  9. ^ "Suncorp Stadium ravaged by floods". The Herald Sun. 13 January 2011. Retrieved 13 January 2011. 
  10. ^ "Suncorp Stadium sunk amid devastation and fears worse to come". The Australian. 13 January 2011. Retrieved 13 January 2011. 
  11. ^ Intimate Suncorp best in world. Wynne Gray, New Zealand Herald, 4:00AM Saturday 13 September 2008 retrieved 14 September 2008.
  12. ^ Is the optimism in English rugby justified? Garth Hamilton, www.theroar.com.au accessed 19 November 2010.
  13. ^ Time to deliver accessed 19 July 2006.
  14. ^ "SPORTS MEDIA HALL OF FAME OPENS AT SUNCORP STADIUM". suncorpstadium.com.au. 28 July 2006. 
  15. ^ http://www.suncorpstadium.com.au/The_Stadium/Concert_Reports.aspx
  16. ^ Daniel Hurst (6 September 2011). "Suncorp Stadium gets big-game green light". brisbanetimes.com.au. Retrieved 9 September 2011. 
  17. ^ Lang Park results @ Rugby League Project

External links[edit]