Crossed another item off the bucket list. I have always wanted to go to a professional rugby game. Last time I was down under, everyone but me went to a match as I was dealing with a family problem at the time. This time I got to go. Took five students with me this time.
We saw the South Sidney Rabbitohs play the Paramatta Ells of the National Rugby League. The secondary excitement with this event was that it was held in ANZAC Stadium, home of the 2000 Summer Olympics. There were 17,077 people at the match and it looked like the stadium was empty (capacity is now just over 85,000). The stadium was huge. The nice thing about it was that although it was pouring rain, the seating was covered so we were all dry.
One of the outcomes of going is that I think that I finally have an understanding of Rugby. It may not be complete, but it is enough that I can finally see the goals and strategy involved. My next big task it to figure out the difference between rugby leagues and unions. How the national teams fit in and how all the different cup plays fit in.
It was also fun to see the fans. They certainly do not have to take a back seat to fans in the states. The cheering section for the Rabbitohs was every bit as excited, boisterous, ritualized, and loud as the Doug Pound in Cleveland, Block O at Ohio State, or as loud as the Bears fans. The difference is that they do not seem to be as fueled with alcohol. There did not seem to be any tailgating at the stadium. The fans that want to drink and watch go to a pub. The pubs are where the alcohol flows and the arguments seem the loudest.
Getting to the stadium was easy. Our hostel is next to the Central Railway stadium. We took the Western line train from tack 18 to Lidcombe Station. From Lidcomde station there is a shuttle train that takes you right to Olympic stadium. It was painless getting there and back.
Oh, and the score, Rabbitohs 30 and the Ells 6. Rabbitohs are in first place in the league and the Eels are in last.
9/20/2013 Update - Rabbitohs are in the Preliminary Finals (that is a new one, not only finals but Finals Week, Semi-Finals, Preliminary Finals, and Finals)