Redfern Oval

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Redfern Oval
Redfern Oval RTR 2009.jpg
Redfern Oval, South Sydney Rabbitohs vs Wests Tigers pre-season trial game, 8 February 2009
Full name Redfern Oval
Location Redfern, New South Wales
Capacity 5,000 (formerly 20,000)
Surface Grass
Renovated Multiple times
South Sydney Rabbitohs (NSWRL) (1948-1987) Redfern All Blacks

Redfern Oval is an Australian football ground, in the Sydney suburb of Redfern, New South Wales. The South Sydney Rabbitohs Rugby League Football Club played at Redfern Oval between 1948 and 1987.[1] Rabbitoh supporters often refer to Redfern Oval as "The Holy Land".[citation needed]

The former National Rugby League ground had a main grandstand on the wing with seats on either side and a hill surrounding the rest of the ground with a few rows of seats near the fence. The total capacity of the ground was around the 20,000 mark, until the redevelopment. The current ground has a lone grandstand with bench style seating, with the structure incorporating the Rabbitohs' training equipment/gym, as well as a cafe and basic luxury hospitality. The seating is covered by a large roof spanning the width of the structure. The stand is wheelchair accessible and also contains hearing loop accessibility. The player's tunnel is accessed by a small staircase which is below field level. Around the rest of the ground (which is now all public park, including the field) is three rows of terraced, hill seating.

$19 million was spent by the City of Sydney Council to completely upgrade and renovate Redfern Oval which has allowed the Rabbitohs to return to Redfern in 2009 with state-of-the-art training facilities for players and coaches.

The upgrade offers the Rabbitohs a professional standard playing surface and facilities to allow the oval to be used as their preferred training ground and for a limited number of pre-season and exhibition matches.

The Rabbitohs Use of the Park[edit]

Premiership Matches (1948 - 1987)[edit]

In 1948, the South Sydney Rabbitohs began playing at this ground, as part of their home-ground usage. They played here until the end of 1987, where they move to the Sydney Football Stadium the following year.

In July 1987 Souths played Manly in front of a record crowd of 23,257.[2]

After 1987, Redfern was only used in the premiership as South Sydney's training ground. However, it did host the Charity Shield game between the Rabbitohs and St George in 1988, the last time the venue hosted the game between the clubs. Redfern also as hosted two games of the 1995 Tooheys Challenge Cup pre-season competition with a double header on 11 February. In the early game Cronulla defeated the Sydney Tigers 18-10, while the Rabbitohs marked their return to the ground with a 14-19 loss to a new team in the premiership, the Perth based Western Reds.

After a break of 9 years, Redfern Oval returned as South Sydney's home ground for three games in the 1996 ARL season. Its return match saw the Gold Coast Chargers pip the Rabbitohs 18-16. South Sydney then won their final two premiership games at the ground, defeating the Western Reds 24-18, before accounting for the South Queensland Crushers 48-16 on 14 July 1996 in front of 3,107 fans.[3]

Return to Redfern / RTR (2009 – present)[edit]

South Sydney played the Wests Tigers in a pre-season match on Sunday, 8 February 2009. The seating capacity for this games was only 5,000, so only members from South Sydney and the Tigers were allowed to purchase tickets for the match. The Tigers won the game 30–26 in front of a sold-out crowd.

Due to the success of the RTR match, the South Sydney Rabbitohs decided to play another trial match on 7 February 2010 against the Manly Sea Eagles. The match was advertised at South's home games as 'RTR 2010 The Tradition Continues'. Once again, the game was for members only. The game took place approximately 40 years after the famous 1970 NSWRL grand final, in which Souths legend John Sattler played most of the game with a shattered jaw. A teaser for the game was uploaded to YouTube by a Souths fan which details the rivalry between Souths and Manly.[4] Sam Burgess made his debut for the Rabbitohs and scored a try as South Sydney won on the day 42–14.

The third annual RTR game was played on Saturday, 5 February 2011, when South Sydney took on the Newtown Jets. The last time these two teams met was back in the 1983 NSWRFL season. The game was marked as Ben Ross' return to rugby league after a two-year neck injury. Ross captained the side, as South Sydney won their second straight RTR match, beating the Jets 10–4.

In 2012, South Sydney played the fourth annual RTR game against a European Super League club, the Warrington Wolves, on 28 January. Warrington took an early 24–0 lead, before Souths came back to 28–28. However, it wasn't enough as the Wolves scored the winning try through Gareth O’Brien. Warrington finished the game 34–28 over the Rabbitohs in front of a sold-out crowd. On the same day, the club opened "Souths On Chalmers", a restaurant and club, across the road from Redfern Oval (on Chalmers Street).

In 2013, South Sydney played the Papua New Guinea Residents XIII in their fifth annual RTR on 9 February. Ben Lowe scored early on and new recruit Bryson Goodwin converted. In a shock ending to the first quarter, PNG's halfback scored twice to give PNG a 12–6 lead after 20 minutes. In the first hit up of the second quarter, Dave Tyrell was knocked down pretty hard but minutes later, he scored to draw the game back up until Rabbitohs captain Jason Clark scored minutes later to end the half 18–12. The third quarter ended the way the second ended, with a Rabbitoh's try. Chris McQueen spun away from three tackles and plunged over. Although PNG's defence was proving tough, tries from Aaron Gray, Bennett Leslie and a second from Jason Clark ended day with Rabbitoh's running away with it 38–12. Ben Te'o, Bryson Goodwin and several other recruits were presented with their 2013 jerseys.

On Sunday, 9 February 2014, South Sydney played away from Redfern for the first time since 2009. They played the Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs in a match that was dubbed "Back to Belmore" at the Belmore Sports Ground. In a classic encounter the Rabbitohs ran out the victors winning 28 points to 20.

In 2015 the Rabbitohs were due to host the Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs in the return fixture from last year. However, with the Bulldogs qualifying for the World Club Series the meeting was rescheduled for 2016. The replacement team chosen was the current State Champions the Northern Pride from Cairns Queensland.

Match results[edit]

Winner Score Loser Match Information
Date Venue & Crowd Match
Wests Tigers colours.svg West Tigers 30-26 South Sydney colours.svg South Sydney Rabbitohs 5:15pm, Sunday,
8 February 2009
Redfern Oval (5,000) [5] Return To Redfern 1
South Sydney colours.svg South Sydney Rabbitohs 42-14 Manly Sea Eagles colours.svg Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles 6:00pm, Sunday,
7 February 2010
Redfern Oval (5,000) Return To Redfern 2
South Sydney colours.svg South Sydney Rabbitohs 10-4 Newtown colours.svg Newtown Jets 6:00pm, Saturday,
5 February 2011
Redfern Oval (5,000) [6] Return To Redfern 3
Wolvescolours.svg Warrington Wolves 34-28 South Sydney colours.svg South Sydney Rabbitohs 6:00pm, Saturday,
28 January 2012
Redfern Oval (5,000) [7] Return To Redfern 4
South Sydney colours.svg South Sydney Rabbitohs 38-12 Port Moresby Vipers Colours.svg Papua New Guinea Residents XIII 6:00pm, Saturday,
9 February 2013
Redfern Oval (5,000) [8] Return To Redfern 5
The 2014 "Return To Redfern" Trail-Match was not played due to other trial commitments.
The South Sydney Rabbitohs played against the Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs in the third Back To Belmore Trial-Match at the Belmore Sports Ground.
South Sydney colours.svg South Sydney Rabbitohs 20-20 Northern Pride colours.png Northern Pride 6:00pm, Saturday,
14 February 2015
Redfern Oval (2,000) [9] Return To Redfern 6
South Sydney colours.svg South Sydney Rabbitohs T.B.D. Canterbury colours.svg Canterbury Bulldogs Time T.B.C., Day T.B.C.,
Date T.B.C. 2016
Redfern Oval (Crowd T.B.D.) [10] Return To Redfern 7


  1. ^ Club Records at
  2. ^ "Austadiums". Australia. 2010-12-09. p. 1. Retrieved 2010-04-22. 
  3. ^ Redfern Oval @ Rugby League Project
  4. ^
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External links[edit]

Coordinates: 33°53′43″S 151°12′22″E / 33.89528°S 151.20611°E / -33.89528; 151.20611