Parramatta Stadium

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Parramatta Stadium
Pirtek Stadium
Parramatta Stadium logo.svg
Parramatta Stadium New Scoreboard.jpg
Location Parramatta, Sydney
New South Wales, Australia
Coordinates 33°48′29″S 150°59′59″E / 33.80806°S 150.99972°E / -33.80806; 150.99972Coordinates: 33°48′29″S 150°59′59″E / 33.80806°S 150.99972°E / -33.80806; 150.99972
Broke ground 1985
Opened 1986
Owner NSW Government
Operator Parramatta Stadium Trust
Surface Grass
Architect Civil & Civic
Capacity 21,500 (Venue capacity)
20,741 (Seating capacity)
24,000 (Planned expansion)
Parramatta Eels (NRL) (1986–present)
Sydney Wave (ABL) (1991–1992)
Sydney Storm (ABL) (1993–1996)
Sydney Tigers (ARL) (1995–1996)
Parramatta Power (NSL) (1999–2004)
Western Sydney Wanderers (A-League) (2012–present)

Parramatta Stadium (known as Pirtek Stadium for sponsorship purposes[1]) is an Australian sports stadium situated in Parramatta, Sydney, New South Wales. The stadium is used as the home ground of National Rugby League (NRL) club the Parramatta Eels & A-League team the Western Sydney Wanderers.

It has also hosted numerous other sporting and cultural events since its opening in 1986. Michael Jackson performed at the stadium during his Bad World Tour on 20–21 November 1987, and Paul McCartney concluded the Australian leg of The New World Tour with two shows there on 22–23 March 1993.

The precinct the stadium was built on is historically known as Cumberland Oval. The stadium is in the process of undergoing a refit and expansion, which will bring the capacity of the stadium to approximately 24,000 seats as well as improving facilities for players, the clubs, supporters and the media.


Early years[edit]

Parramatta Stadium is the second sports ground to occupy the site, the first being Cumberland Oval (now Old Kings Oval) which was the main sporting venue of the Parramatta District from the mid 19th Century through to the 1980's, hosting horse-racing, cricket, rugby union, athletics and speedway. Among the famous names who used the oval in their respective sports were English cricketer W. G. Grace, and Australia's triple Formula One World Champion Jack Brabham who raced Speedcars at the Cumberland Speedway in the 1940's.

While used since 1847 as a sportsground, the first stand at Cumberland Oval was built in 1850 and others followed at various times up to the final stand was built in 1936. The oval was surrounded by a post and two-rail fence that was constructed in the 1860s by players of the Central Cumberland Cricket Club.

Central Cumberland Cricket Club (formed in 1862) played at Cumberland Oval from 1863, and played famous England XI touring sides during the 1880s and 1890s. Now known as the Parramatta District Cricket Club, the Sydney grade cricket club still plays at the oval.

Rugby union was played at Cumberland Oval from 1879 and, from 1936, Parramatta (now the Parramatta Two Blues) played home matches at the Oval, the team now plays its matches at Granville Rugby Park.

Rugby league was played at Cumberland Oval from as early as 1909 by local clubs such as Parramatta Iona, Endeavours and the Western Districts representative side. When the Parramatta District Rugby League Club (later known as the Parramatta Eels) was admitted into the NSWRL Premiership in 1947 Cumberland Oval became the club's home ground. The first match was played against Newtown (now Newtown Jets) on 12 April 1947, before a crowd of 6,000. The largest crowd to watch a rugby league match at Cumberland Oval was 22,470 when the Eels took on the South Sydney Rabbitohs on 26 April 1971. Cumberland Oval remained the home ground of the Parramatta Eels until 1981, playing their last match there against Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles in August in front of their seasons highest home attendance of 18,449 before going on to win their maiden NSWRL Premiership by defeating Newtown 20-11 in the Grand Final at the Sydney Cricket Ground. After losing the 1976 Grand Final 13-10 to Manly, and the 1977 Grand Final replay 22-0 to St George (the original Grand Final was drawn 9-9), 1981 was the first premiership success for the Eels.

As the Parramatta Eels secured their first-ever Premiership, defeating the Newtown Jets in the 1981 Grand Final, wildly jubilant scenes erupted in Parramatta, the Leagues club quickly overflowed with Eels fans celebrating with thousands rallying at nearby Cumberland Oval and, in a frenzy of excitement, burning the Oval's grandstand to the ground.

When the Parramatta Eels are playing the ground's eastern grandstand is named the Mick Cronin Stand and the western grandstand, the Ken Thornett Stand in honour of two of the club's leading former players.

Parramatta Stadium announced on 9 October 2013, that for the first time in the history of the stadium that it would take on a naming rights sponsor. Pirtek, a hydraulics company with origins in Western Sydney, are the sponsors of the stadium and the stadium will be known officially as "Pirtek Stadium".[2]


View of the Mick Cronin Stand.

After the destruction of Cumberland Oval, a new stadium was to be built on the site, which was approved by the New South Wales Government for development in 1983 and the contract for the construction and design of the stadium was put up for tender. In November 1984 the construction company Civil & Civic won the contract to design and build a new stadium less than 100 meters from the site of Old Kings Oval (previously known as Cumberland Oval).

In November 1985 the stadium was complete and the grass was planted. On 5 March 1986, the Parramatta Stadium was opened by Queen Elizabeth II. On 16 March, the first NSWRL Premiership match was played at the ground with 26,870 in attendance. Parramatta's Steve Sharp scored the ground's first try in the Eels' 36 – 6 victory over the St. George Dragons.[3] The only try for the Dragons came when centre Michael O'Connor fielded an infield kick from Eels front rower Paul Mares and raced 91 metres to score with a flying Eric Grothe only just failing to stop him as he came across in cover.[4]



In December 2002, work began on converting the formerly grassed hill areas (The Brett Kenny Hill and The Peter Sterling Hill) into seated terrace areas (holding 4,500 spectators). This redevelopment reduced the ground's capacity to 21,500, down from the previous capacity of 27,000.


In May 2007 the Parramatta Stadium Trust announced plans to build a new southern stand with room for 2,700 extra patrons as well as a players change room and gym. The plans were not followed through on and no construction was done.[5]

2010 Master plan commissioned[edit]

In 2010, a commission was done to establish a "Master Plan" for the future development the stadium. The master plan, if completed, would have the stadium finish with a capacity of 31,300 seats as well as extensive redevelopment of the facilities at the stadium for players, corporate sponsors, the media and supporters.[6]

2013 Expansion & redevelopment approved[edit]

Rail seat test install.

On 2 July 2013, the Australian Federal Government, the New South Wales State Government and Parramatta Local Council announced an expansion for the stadium. An existing fund of $8 million for upgrading the stadium was combined with $20 million of new funding. The expansion will increase the capacity of the stadium to 24,000. It also contains refurbishment to the corporate hospitality facilities, food & drink outlets, bathrooms, extending the training field to full football size as well as upgrading gym facilities for the use of the Eels. It is expected to be complete in early 2015.[7][8][9]

Western Sydney Wanderers along with Active support group the Red & Black Bloc have campaigned for the installation of German style rail seating to enable Safe standing in the Northern Terrace as part of the expansion and upgrade to be completed by 2015. The club imported 7 sets of rail seats and worked with Parramatta Stadium to perform a successful test installation. If the proposed installation is completed it would be the first safe seating installation in the country, in any sport.[10]



Parramatta Power, a National Soccer League (NSL) club owned and operated by Parramatta Leagues Club, played home games at the Stadium between 1999 and 2004. With the announcement of the demise of the NSL, and the creation of the A-League, the club was wound-up at the end of the 2003/2004 season. It played in the last-ever NSL Grand Final against Perth Glory which was played at the stadium. The ground hosted 7 NSL Grand Final matches, in 1986 (second leg), 1988, 1989, 1990, 1993, 2001 and 2004.

In April 2007 Sydney FC played one game in the AFC Champions League against Persik Kediri at Parramatta Stadium. In February 2010, during the 2009–10 Hyundai A-League season, Sydney FC defeated Perth Glory 3–2. The game had been moved from the Sydney Football Stadium due to the Edinburgh Military tattoo.

On 26 July 2012, new A-League club Western Sydney Wanderers announced a five-year deal with Parramatta Stadium, and made its debut with a crowd of 10,458.


Baseball has also been played at Parramatta Stadium with the Sydney Blues playing home matches there. The Sydney Blues entered the Australian Baseball League in 1992 and played out of Parramatta Stadium to much controversy of having such a short home run fence in right field. The Sydney Blues were later known as the Sydney Storm who also played some games at Parramatta, until the collapse of the Australian Baseball League in 1999.

Rugby league[edit]

Parramatta Stadium has been used for various Rugby league matches such as pre-season Sevens tournaments in 1989 and 1990, and a test match against France in 1994.

Parramatta Eels is the main Rugby League team to use this stadium as their home-ground usage in the NRL premiership season. They have been here since 1986.

In 1995 and 1996, the ground was also used for the short-lived Sydney Tigers, what became of Balmain Tigers. In 1997 the Sydney Tigers went back to being the Balmain Tigers and moved back to Leichhardt Oval. Also in 1995, the Canterbury Bulldogs team changed their name to 'Sydney Bulldogs', and played their home games at this ground. In 1996, they reverted to their original name and returned to Belmore Oval.

Recently the stadium has been used as a host venue for the 2008 Rugby League World Cup and the 2010 Four Nations. Two of Ireland's 2008 Rugby League World Cup Group C games were played at Parramatta Stadium: one against Tonga and the other against Samoa.

Rugby union[edit]

On 18 September 1997 two 1999 Rugby World Cup qualifiersWestern Samoa vs Tonga and Australia vs Fiji—were played at Parramatta Stadium. A number of NSW Rugby Union club matches were played at the ground between 2001 and 2002. Australia A also played a match against Canada in 2002 at Parramatta Stadium. During 2007, Parramatta Stadium was also the home ground for the Western Sydney Rams club side that participated in the now defunct Australian Rugby Championship.[11]


Parramatta railway station is near by. The station is served by trains of the North Shore, Northern & Western Line and Blue Mountains Line. The Cumberland Line also calls at the station, though it only operates for limited hours and only on weekdays.

Record attendances[edit]

Parramatta Stadium during rugby league.
  • The highest crowd to attend a match at Parramatta Stadium after the redevelopment of the hill areas is 21,141 (Parramatta Eels versus Wests Tigers in round 7 of the 2006 NRL season.)
  • The highest season average crowd for the Parramatta Eels in the NSWRL/ARL/NRL was set in the stadium's opening season, 1986 when an average of 19,600 fans attended the Eels 13 home games. As of 2011, 1986 is currently the last year Parramatta won the premiership.
  • The highest season average crowd at the stadium for Parramatta Eels home games since the redevelopment was set in the 2005 NRL season at 16,478.
  • The Parramatta Eels versus Great Britain Lions game on the Lions 1992 tour of Australasia attracted a crowd of 18,220, the largest non-Test match crowd of the Lions tour, with Parramatta winning 22–16. Prior to the match, Parramatta and Great Britain winger's Lee Oudenryn and Martin Offiah, generally regarded at the time as the fastest player in rugby league, faced off in a Tooheys Blue Label challenge race over 100m (try line to try line). Oudenryn caused what many believed to be a huge upset by defeating Offiah by approximately half a metre.[12]

External links[edit]