View of the grandstand at Marrara Oval in March 2016
|Former names||Football Park|
|Location||Marrara, Northern Territory|
|Owner||Government of the Northern Territory|
|Operator||AFL Northern Territory|
Marrara Oval, currently branded TIO Stadium under a naming rights agreement (and previously also known as just Football Park), is a sports ground in Darwin, the capital of Australia's Northern Territory. The ground primarily hosts Australian rules football, cricket, and rugby league.
Marrara Oval was opened in 1991. It has a nominal capacity of 14,000 people, making it the largest stadium in the Northern Territory. However, the ground has a record attendance of 17,500, set in 2003 for a football game featuring the Indigenous All-Stars. Marrara Oval has hosted at least one Australian Football League (AFL) game in every season since 2004 and at least one National Rugby League (NRL) game in every season since 2012. The ground has also hosted both Test and One Day International (ODI) cricket fixtures, most recently in 2008.
Australian rules football
Marrara Oval was officially opened to the public on 30 June 1991 as the new home of the Northern Territory Football League (NTFL), and was conservatively estimated as costing $8 million. The first game played under lights at Marrara was a match between Nightcliff and Southern Districts on 9 December 1994. Transport and Works Minister Daryl Manzie officially handed over the lights to the NTFL that day. Installing the lights cost $1.2 million. The light towers were constructed by Darwin firm Norbuilt.
In February 1992, Marrara Oval hosted its first match sanctioned by the Australian Football League (AFL), a preseason Foster's Cup fixture between Collingwood and West Coast attended by 11,000 people. Further preseason fixtures were hosted at the ground over the next decade, including several Indigenous All-Stars games. A 2003 match between the Indigenous All-Stars and Carlton attracted a crowd of 17,500 people, setting a new ground record. The first regular-season AFL match played at Marrara Oval came in round 20 of the 2004 season, when the Western Bulldogs hosted Port Adelaide.
Between 2004 and 2008 a single Western Bulldogs "home" game was played at the ground each season. In 2010, Melbourne also began to play an annual "home" fixture in Darwin. The Western Bulldogs onsold their 2011 fixture to Richmond, but returned for the 2012 and 2013 seasons. Port Adelaide also had a three-year deal with the Northern Territory government and Marrara Oval, in which they would be the "away" team for games at TIO Stadium each year between 2009 and 2012. Since 2014, only one AFL game has been played at Marrara Oval each year.
Marrara Oval has hosted top-level international cricket on several occasions. In July 2003, the ground hosted the first Test of a series between Australia and Bangladesh. A One Day International (ODI) game between the same teams was played the following month. In July 2004, a second Test was played, the first of a series between Australia and Sri Lanka. After that, top-level international cricket did not return to Marrara Oval until mid-2008, when the ground hosted a three-ODI series between Australia and Bangladesh.
In the National Rugby League (NRL), the Sydney Roosters played host against the North Queensland Cowboys in Round 7 of the 2012 NRL season in front of 10,008 fans. This was the first time Darwin hosted a professional Rugby League game since 1995. The second game at Marrara came in Round 17 of the 2013 NRL season when the Penrith Panthers (who had previously played games in Darwin during the 1990s) defeated the Gold Coast Titans 40-18 in front of 8,050 for what was a Titans home game.
In 2014, the Parramatta Eels, a Sydney-based National Rugby League (NRL) club, announced they would be playing four games at Marrara over the following four years. The first game came on 9 August (Round 22) during the 2014 NRL season when the Eels defeated the Canberra Raiders 18-10 in front of 9,527 fans.
TIO Stadium has hosted AC/DC for their "Ballbreaker" tour in November 1996, when 13,000 fans and 170 tonnes of equipment packed the ground. Sir Elton John performed for the first time in the Northern Territory, at TIO Stadium on the 17 May 2008 as part of the his Australian Tour.
|1||7 February 2003||Indigenous All-Stars vs. Carlton||Australian rules football||n/a||17,500|
|2||12 February 1994||Indigenous All-Stars vs. Collingwood||Australian rules football||n/a||15,000|
|3||12 August 2006||Western Bulldogs vs. Port Adelaide||Australian rules football||AFL||14,100|
|4||14 August 2004||Western Bulldogs vs. Port Adelaide||Australian rules football||AFL||13,271|
|5||11 February 2007||Indigenous All-Stars vs. Essendon||Australian rules football||n/a||13,119|
|6||18 June 2005||Western Bulldogs vs. Carlton||Australian rules football||AFL||13,037|
|7||4 July 2015||Melbourne vs. West Coast||Australian rules football||AFL||11,873|
|8||28 May 2011||Richmond vs. Port Adelaide||Australian rules football||AFL||11,506|
|9||16 June 2007||Western Bulldogs vs. Fremantle||Australian rules football||AFL||11,449|
|10||28 June 2008||Western Bulldogs vs. Port Adelaide||Australian rules football||AFL||11,373|
Last updated on 26 November 2016
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- Marrara Oval at Austadiums