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Pirtek Stadium

Parramatta, NSW

Home of the Parramatta Eels

3.3

N/A

Pirtek Stadium (map it)
O’Connell St
Parramatta, NSW 2150
Australia


Parramatta Eels website

Pirtek Stadium website

Year Opened: 1986

Capacity: 20,741

There are no tickets available at this time.

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Parra at Pirtek

Pirtek Stadium is located on the western fringe of Sydney’s second CBD at Parramatta. The stadium opened in 1986 as a replacement for the old Cumberland Oval which previously occupied a nearby site. Until recently known as Parramatta Stadium, the venue has a capacity of 20,741. The major tenants of Pirtek are the Parramatta Eels (NRL) and Western Sydney Wanderers (A-League). NRC rugby franchise, the Greater Sydney Rams, also use Pirtek. International rugby league and rugby union have both been played at this location as well. The NSW State Government announced in late 2015 that the stadium would be demolished after the 2016 NRL season to make way for a new and larger stadium due to be completed by mid-2019 at a cost of $300m.

Parramatta Rugby League Club was formed in 1947 and immediately adopted the playing colours of blue and gold, synonymous with the local district. The Eel was later adopted as a mascot, with the Aboriginal translation of the word ‘Parramatta’ literally meaning, “place where the eels dwell.” The club experienced great success throughout the 1980s including three successive premierships early in the decade.

In recent times the Eels have been somewhat sporadic in terms of on-field success, and indeed are infamously known for boardroom politics. It’s worth noting that Jarryd Hayne was a Parramatta superstar before heading to the States to try his hand as a running back in the NFL.

Pirtek Stadium is managed by Venues NSW, which is a statutory authority formed to manage major stadiums, also including Hunter Stadium and the WIN Entertainment Centre.

3.3

What is FANFARE?

The FANFARE scale is our metric device for rating each stadium experience. It covers the following:

  • Food & Beverage
  • Atmosphere
  • Neighborhood
  • Fans
  • Access
  • Return on Investment
  • Extras

Each area is rated from 0 to 5 stars with 5 being the best. The overall composite score is the "FANFARE Score".

Food & Beverage    3

The stadium offers limited options for food and beverage priced at a premium. While the outlets themselves are limited and not at all well situated, queuing and ordering are quite painless. If you're looking for value, then choose a combo (such as hot dog, chips and drink for $16), otherwise choose a single item to munch on (hot dog $6) and head into town for a better feed before or after the game.

Soft drinks (Coke varieties) by themselves are $5.50. Smaller items such as ice creams and chips are also available. A separate outlet behind the stand serves alcoholic beverages with the basics of a beer or a wine available. There is also a coffee cart on site. No electronic payment methods are accepted, but there are ATMs available should you be running short of cash.

Atmosphere    3

While only 30 years old, it's fair to say that Pirtek Stadium has not aged particularly well. There are notable water stains on the concrete exterior and also on the underside of the grandstand roofs. While a step up from some of the other suburban stadiums used in the NRL, Pirtek is lacking when it comes to modern amenities. It's comfortable but certainly not an outstanding experience.

In 2003, terraced seating replaced the majority of the grass hill areas at either end and are now known as the Brett Kenny Terrace and Peter Sterling Terrace respectively. Otherwise there appears to have been little in the way of capital expenditure to update the venue.

The stadium is obviously dominated by the two grandstands running the length of the eastern and western touchlines; named after Eels legends Mick Cronin (Eastern Stand) and Ken Thornett (Western Stand). There are plenty of other unique touches designed to remind you that this has been home of the "Blue and Gold Army" for many years, including the statue of Ray Price on the stadium forecourt.

Much of the unique touches are related to the Eels; the statue of Ray Price at the entrance, the naming of the grandstands (Mick Cronin Stand, Ken Thornett Stand, Brett Kenny Terrace and Peter Sterling Terrace), and the general feel of the venue. The stadium is equipped with a video board at the southern end of the ground.

Neighborhood    5

Parramatta is a thriving area undergoing further transformation and growth. While the stadium is nestled among the trees of Parramatta Park, all the attractions of a modern city are within a short walk. Take note of nearby Church St, colloquially named "Eat Street" for numerous restaurants and cafes. Worth mentioning are Ribs n Rumps (345 Church St), Bondi Pizza (320 Church St) and Jamie Oliver's Italian Trattoria (Corner of Church St and Macquarie St).

One of the closest watering holes worth sampling is the Bavarian Bier Café (2-8 Phillip St), but there are any number of pubs and bars in the area. If you're attending a daytime game and are looking for something a bit more low-key, I would suggest the pork sliders at the Social Hideout Café (2a 20 Victoria Rd). The Parramatta Leagues Club which offers a variety of dining options, bars and entertainment is right next door if you really don't want to travel far.

If you are in town for more than just the Eels, there are several hotels close to the stadium, notably the Novotel Sydney Parramatta (350 Church St) and the Parkroyal Parramatta (30 Phillip St). It may also be worth checking the schedule at the Riverside Theatre or the horse races at Rosehill Gardens. Westfield Parramatta was also once famous for being the largest indoor shopping complex in the southern hemisphere.

Fans    3

Parramatta draws crowds of between 10,000 and 15,000. However, one of the quirks of the stadium is that the noise is often more indicative of a larger number of people. The Eels have a large and diverse fan base, many of whom are passionate supporters having experienced the highs and lows of the past 30 years. "Parra" fans are loud and encouraging, and most of them sport blue and gold. The overall atmosphere is largely family friendly and not threatening towards opposition fans.

Access    4

Pirtek Stadium is easily accessible by public transport (bus, train or ferry) or private car, although there is not exactly an abundance of parking available nearby. The best bet is to arrive early and try to grab a free spot further back along the northern end of O'Connell St. Otherwise there are various paid lots within easy walking distance. Likewise the train station and bus interchange are relatively close - or utilise the free city shuttle bus. The bathrooms are serviceable, but realistically could use an upgrade.

Return on Investment    3

The NRL is fighting a constant battle to encourage fans to attend games and with the pricing structure the way it is, it's not hard to see why. The cheapest reserved seating for adults will set you back a minimum of $40, with general admission at either end costing $30 for an adult. There isn't really any quality additional entertainment so to get your money's worth you should arrive early enough to watch the curtain raisers in the NSW Cup and NYC.

Extras    2

Bonus points for the various stalls set up on the forecourt to enhance the experience and display the tradition of the club.

Final Thoughts

The Eels provide a solid match day experience in an average venue, albeit overpriced as with most NRL teams. However Parramatta is a jewel in Western Sydney and this could be your last chance to see Pirtek Stadium before it is demolished to make way for a new and improved Parramatta Stadium.

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Local Food & Drink

Ribs n Rumps  (map it!)

353 Church St

Parramatta, NSW 2150

+61 2 9630 2434

http://ribsandrumps.com.au/location/parramatta/

Bondi Pizza  (map it!)

320 Church St

Parramatta, NSW 2150

+61 2 9891 9221

http://www.bondipizza.com.au/view/store/Parramatta/

Jamie Oliver’s Italian Trattoria  (map it!)

Centenary Square, Church St

Parramatta, NSW 2150

+61 2 8624 6800

https://www.jamieoliver.com/italian/australia/restaurants/sydney-trattoria/

Bavarian Bier Café  (map it!)

2-8 Phillip St

Parramatta, NSW 2150

+61 2 8836 1400

http://www.bavarianbiercafe.com/venue/parramatta/

Social Hideout  (map it!)

2a/20 Victoria Rd

Parramatta, NSW 2150

+61 2 8677 5226

http://www.socialhideout.com.au/

Local Entertainment

Lodging

Novotel Sydney Parramatta  (map it!)

350 Church St

Parramatta, NSW 2150

+61 2 9630 4999

http://www.novotelparramatta.com.au/

Parkroyal Parramatta  (map it!)

30 Phillip St

Parramatta, NSW 2150

+61 2 9689 3333

https://www.parkroyalhotels.com/en/hotels-resorts/australia/parramatta.html

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