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Official Review by Lloyd Rothwell, Stadium Journey Regional Correspondent
Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane is arguably one of the best football-only stadiums worldwide. Better known as Lang Park, the venue opened in 1914 on the site of a former cemetery, however it didn’t become the home of rugby league in Queensland until the 1950s. The stadium gained traction in Australian sporting folklore with the rise of the State of Origin concept which began in 1980; a three-game series between New South Wales and Queensland that has evolved into the premiere event on the annual rugby league calendar. Lang Park was nicknamed “The Cauldron,” and renowned for local fans euphemistically described as boisterous and parochial.
A substantial redevelopment was completed in 2003, resulting in a 52,500 seater where 75% are covered within the drip line. The works have seen Suncorp regularly mentioned as the best rectangular stadium in Australia. The Queensland Reds Super Rugby franchise and the Brisbane Roar A-League club both relocated to the stadium, a testament to the high standard of spectator facilities. Internationals across all three codes, as well as high-profile concerts, also regularly take place at Suncorp.
The Brisbane Broncos joined what is now the National Rugby League (NRL) as an expansion team in 1988, along with a Gold Coast Tweed club and the Newcastle Knights. They’ve quickly become a powerhouse, having won six premierships. They are one of the largest and most highly valued football clubs in the country, and also hold the distinction of being the only publically owned club in Australia.
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Each area is rated from 0 to 5 stars with 5 being the best. The overall composite score is the "FANFARE Score".
The stadium is well stocked with many outlets on all levels on the seating bowl. There may not be any speciality items, but all the regular offerings are available. Not only that, they are done well and are priced fairly well in comparison to most venues in Australia. The only complaint is that a beer costs $7.70. Nevertheless the food choices are satisfactory, as are the service and availability. Up to date prices and a full listing of items can be found on the Suncorp Stadium website, which is most unusual and helpful.
The redeveloped Suncorp Stadium compares well to any major football stadium around the world. The stadium design puts the crowd on top of the action, creating an intimate atmosphere while maximising fan engagement and noise. The seating bowl has three levels, all of which provide great views.
If possible, circumnavigate the exterior of the stadium prior to entry to ensure you pass through the northern plaza to see statues of Queensland greats Wally Lewis ("The King"), Arthur Beetson, Mal Meninga, and Darren Lockyer, as well as plaques in the concourse listing all QLD State of Origin players and their number. There are video screens at either end, however they are just a touch too small and they are placed a little low for those sitting in the nosebleed seats. Despite this slight flaw, the stadium offers a great experience.
The nearby Caxton St is packed with restaurants, bars and cafes, making it the ideal route if you're walking in from the east. However, the number one choice in the vicinity is actually on the opposite side of the stadium.
By all means check out the aforementioned strip, however dalso be sure to visit the XXXX Alehouse (located at the corner of Black and Paton Streets, in Milton). The entrance is a little difficult to spot as the building appears to face Milton Rd, but the public entrance is down the side and up the stairs. The pub is an open plan with a balcony and a good choice of bar food.
Brisbane itself is a beautiful city to visit and in the winter months provides a warmer climate than the chilly southeast corner of the continent. A couple of additional suggestions include South Bank, Queen St Mall, and the Storey Bridge Climb.
Queenslanders in general are proud and committed supporters of their athletic teams. The Broncos have the largest supporter base of any NRL club and have an average home crowd of over 30,000. Not only that, but the design of the stadium maximises the noise and cheering of the fans. Maroon and yellow are everywhere! There are also numerous Broncos banners throughout the city, reminding visitors that all of the city are behind their team.
Suncorp Stadium has no specific parking in the vicinity, however public transport by bus and train is well organised making travel to the venue largely hassle-free. Milton and Roma St are the two nearest train stations, with Milton being the closer of the two. There are commercial parking lots in surrounding suburbs which are located within walking distance if you must drive. The concourses inside the stadium cater well to the large crowds and even when busy don't feel too crowded.
Bathrooms are spacious and in good condition. The only possible complaint in this area is the amount of stairs to climb in order to reach the higher levels. Ushers are friendly, helpful and knowledgeable.
Entry to Suncorp Stadium for a Broncos game starts at around $28 for an adult in general admission, with numerous options up to $85 for reserved seating at ground level on the halfway line. In most cases public transport will be included in the price of your ticket, which along with a reasonable pricing structure for food, more than justifies a visit to one of Australia's top sporting destinations.
There is a large stadium store located on the northern plaza, which is also open on weekdays. Stadium tours are available, but must be pre-booked and are only held on Thursdays. There is an option to book a combined stadium and XXXX Brewery tour, which is a great idea.
The Broncos are one of the most successful sporting teams in Australia. Suncorp Stadium is one of the best venues in the land. It's a must see for any stadium travel enthusiast in Australia.
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Black St & Paten St
Milton, QLD 4064
(07) 3361 7597
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