- Blair Hughes
Campbelltown Sports Stadium – Wests Tigers
Photos by Blair Hughes, Stadium Journey
Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 3.86
Campbelltown Sports Stadium
Leumeah, NSW 2560 Australia
Campbelltown Sports Stadium website
Year Opened: 2000
GO WEST of Sydney
Campbelltown Sports Stadium outside of Sydney, Australia comprises one of New South Wales's premier football stadiums and an international standard athletics facility. This is a ground that brings back the good old days of rugby league and takes any fan back to the retro glory days due to its homely local suburban footy feels.
Campbelltown Stadium, formerly called Orana Park is a multi-use stadium in Leumeah, New South Wales, Australia, and is owned by the Campbelltown City Council. It is one of three home grounds for the Wests Tigers Rugby League Football Club, who are a side merged from Western Suburbs Magpies and Balmain Tigers who compete in the National Rugby League (NRL). The stadium has a capacity of 20,000 and is well known amongst locals due to having a functional purpose in the lives of most young Campbelltownians as it doubled as the local athletics track for school carnivals.
The original Orana Park stadium opened in the 1960s and was redeveloped ahead of the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games. The stadium has played host to Wests Tigers, Newtown Jets, and Western Sydney Wanderers W-League Women’s team games as well as the old black and white Wests Magpies up until they folded in 1999.
Since 2000, this ground has been used on an occasional basis by the Wests Tigers, with four of their twelve annual home games played here, by their stadium deals. The Western Suburbs Magpies junior teams and Ron Massey Cup side also play most of their home games at Campbelltown.
Food & Beverage 3
The venue is only open sporadically for events therefore food options are quite limited to traditional ‘footy’ stadium grub. However, there are a few interesting additions on offer for fans.
The food served here is traditional in the sense of pies, burgers, chips, and hot dogs, and the offerings are very limited due to the scarcity of major events. Food at various outlets does not look very fresh or appetizing, but there are a variety of interesting options that make up for the general snack bar foods. The stadium has a variety of food trucks serving donuts, coffees, ice cream cones, and slushies which prove very popular, especially on a hot day.
During a recent visit, the visiting team was the NZ Warriors, so the stadium was offering traditional New Zealand food in ‘Hangi’ which went down as a treat with fans. It was a unique offering that really impressed fans of all ages and both teams and drove home a positive family vibe through the community spirit of food.
The stadium offers a blend of typical soft drinks from Coca-Cola products as well as water, Powerade, spirits, and beers including Cascade Light, VB’s, and Carlton Mid-Strength brews along with both white and red wine. There is a variety of food and bar stands throughout the venue and lines are short at each. It’s great that when you buy a beer here (average price $6-$7) you can get it in an ice-cold can rather than having to have it poured into a plastic cup.
Servers at each food and drink concession are quick and attentive and considering they do not work here very often, the lines move well and people are served quickly. There is a bit of a flow issue in the Eastern grandstand due to the venue design whereby fans block the aisles while waiting for food and drink, but this is a difficult thing for the venue to manage.
There is nothing quite like experiencing a game of rugby league here in the heartland where it is very true to rugby league’s roots. The seats are all close to the action, families of fans are brimming with smiles due to the buzz of a great day at the footy, and it’s an experience that a sports fan needs to see in the flesh. The fan engagement is a step above previous years and fans are happy here due to the pumping atmosphere and ability to feel more apart of the game than at other massive venues.
The stadium comprises plenty of nice vantage points to take in the game in its typical four-ends football stadium design. From the family (alcohol-free) hill where kids and families can run around with footies to the Western and Eastern grandstands, this is a stadium in the old style.
While the stadium does not offer a great deal of weather protection, it makes up for it with seating that is very close to the action, so much so that you can hear the plays from the players from 20 rows back in any of the stands. Seats and the general stadium outlay are a bit dated due to not being used frequently however they are all clean, adequate in size, and comfortable. There are no cup holders or special features as this is very much ground with a considerable history, but the field shows no sign of age as the grass is pristine and glistens in the afternoon sun.
The stadium has a large screen on the family hill which showcases game highlights, stats, and replays and sits above families so when a try decision comes it’s always a good sight to see kids jumping around under the screen and on TV.
The ground announcers do a great job of pumping up the fans with music, trivia, and fan chants. As a good deal to entice new members, the club even offers a game day membership that gives fans the option of paying about $3 more than a standard ticket to get an invite to the after-game party at the local leagues club as well as a $10 merchandise voucher and a ticket to the game. Overall, the Tigers have greatly improved their fan engagement in previous seasons and offer a great family day out at Campbelltown Stadium with a variety of free and fun activations for NRL fans.
While you could sit undercover in the Eastern stand and pay a little more for that option, the best spot here is to pull up a spot on the hill and revel in the atmosphere. Bring a picnic rug and grab some food and take in the action from the breezy location on the family hill. Most areas of the ground would be open to rain in wet weather so the East and West grandstands would offer cover but fans would be wise to sit as close as possible to the action to feel the crunch of the tackles and feel like they’re more part of the game.
The stadium is located about 50 minutes or 45 km via train from the central Sydney CBD. However, it has easy access to main transportation hubs and the train station is a one-minute walk from the stadium. The neighborhood is low on attractions or shops, but it is served by a bottle shop, a local corner store selling game snacks, as well as the local leagues club which is directly next to the stadium.
The stadium is located in a suburban area and therefore there are no hotels or accommodation facilities nearby due to the largely residential area. However, regular trains and buses run directly back to the Sydney CBD meaning most fans who are traveling from other places will stay here as the cost of a train ticket is only $8 return on weekends. The area where the stadium is located in Leumeah is a safe part of town due to the proximity of local transport, restaurants, lighting, security and policing, and residential housing.
Options for food are limited, but there is a local Thai and pizza restaurant right outside the stadium along with a local pub all of which serve traditional and Australian-inspired dishes. There is an abundance of ATMs both inside and outside the stadium so fans can purchase food and drinks. Most places here and inside the ground accept cashless pay-pass payments.
The stadium area is serviced by a local sports leagues club which offers food, pokies, drinks, and live sports as well as the Leumeah Club hotel which offers a similar vibe. These venues are inclusive and offer a local flavor of entertainment and are both worth investigating for a pre-match feed or drink.
Wests Tigers fans are passionate rugby league supporters and while Wests Magpies fans are prominent from the old-school retro jerseys on show, this is very much a group of fans who support the merged team through thick and thin. Tigers fans have often gone through periods of unsuccessful campaigns, but the 2016 campaign has seen the team win back-to-back opening games and the buzz and excitement in the air from Tigers fans is thrilling to see.
As the fans have to watch the Tigers play games across three ‘home’ grounds in Sydney, the four games per year at Campbelltown Stadium are special occasions and fans young and old come out of the woodwork to come back to one of the spiritual homes of rugby league in Sydney.
Along with this, the die-hard members who come here and to the other games get a real kick out of this stadium due to the no-nonsense retro and suburban vibes of the venue. There’s a certain type of romance about seeing a team like the Tigers play in a classic old venue without all the new ‘connected stadium’ bells and whistles and it appears that many fans appreciate coming here to see the team play.
Standard attendance for the Wests Tigers games averages about 10,000-15,000. As the venue is not used frequently, many fans will come here only for these four games of the year. Many fans are season-long members and will attend all of the Tigers games throughout the year.
The fans here are loud and proud and passionate throughout the game. Due to the high level of play and outstanding performance which has at times been missing from the Tigers, the fans here are considerably louder and more engaged than in previous matches. Chants of Tigers, Tigers, Tigers ring out at various points in the game while the fan engagement activities set the tone for a fulfilling day out for families and fans.
Campbelltown Stadium is serviced both by trains and buses and offers limited parking inside the stadium as well as in adjacent streets, however, the best way to get here is via train which on a weekend only costs around $8 return and is a relatively short 45-60 minute ride with fellow fans to the ground.
The ground is fairly accessible for people with disabilities, but it would be advised to contact the venue in advance to check regarding the best seating options for wheelchairs and to secure a space in advance. If not, venue staff here both from the stadium and Tigers are very approachable and friendly and are on hand to deal with poor crowd behavior and special requests.
The local Leumeah train station is located at O’Sullivan Road, Leumeah, and is a one-minute walk from the stadium and about a 500m walk to the main entrance. Tickets for adults cost around $8-$10 return on weekends and offer a fast speed service from Sydney Central or Town Square train stops to the game.
Attendants at the train stop in the city are very helpful and will show you how to purchase an ‘Opal’ card, which is an even cheaper way to get to the game. Some games offer free train travel with your tickets, however, for most fans, the easiest way is to just get on a train heading to the stadium on either the T2 or T5 line. The closest airport is about 45 minutes away and this train line conveniently goes direct to the airport. Accessibility is good here as there are lifts and ramp access at the station.
Parking can be done around the ground but should be avoided due to the presence of ticket officers who will fine nonresidents on match days. Parking inside the stadium is very limited and is around $20 per car and needs to be prearranged as it is a very small car park.
There is only one entrance to the ground which fans will see if they come in via the train station or the yellow footbridge near the tennis centre on the other side. Security is tight and even though you’re allowed to bring bags in, they will be checked. No alcohol is allowed and smoking is banned inside the stadium however there are allocated smoking areas.
Tickets cost around $25-$60 with fewer fees and can be paperless for members or purchased at the gate. It is very easy to walk up and buy a ticket, but the lines can get long so it is advised to get to the ground before kick-off to secure a ticket quickly and get into the stadium.
The stadium can be tight in parts when the ground starts to fill up and fans line up to get food and drinks, particularly in the Eastern stand where lines push right back to the start of the aisles. This is due to the makeup of the venue and impacts the flow of fans as they walk through this area. The rest of the ground is open and easy to walk around and is worth doing just that as there is a lot to take in. A general admission seat on the hill or the family area is a good cheap albeit non-undercover option that is still nice and close to the action.
Return on Investment 4
If you’re looking for a world-class connected stadium experience then this is not for you, however, if you are looking to harken back to the good old days of rugby league and what sports was all about in the 80s and 90s, but of course with a bit of a modern touch, then there is absolutely nothing quite like a trip to Campbelltown Stadium for a Wests Tigers NRL match. Put simply, this is a must-do on any sports fan’s list as there is nothing quite as unique and exciting as a game of football in the burbs.
For $25 a ticket, the ROI here is well worth your money. Nothing can compete with being this close to the action and buzz of the game, the exceptional fan engagement, and free giveaways to all fans as well as the positive fan experience that presents itself here at Campbelltown Stadium. This is not a modern fan experience that is all the rage around the world at the moment, but something that will make sports fans of all ages appreciates an authentic day at the rugby league.
One of the ticket promotions that the Wests Tigers offer new fans is the option to sign up for a game day membership where they pay $30 and receive a ticket, a $10 merchandise voucher, the opportunity to be counted as part of the club’s official membership tally and access to the after game members-only fan party. A good deal considering general admission tickets are $30 anyway.
The Wests Tigers control the fan engagement on the day and it is an exceptional fan experience here. The Tigers have just started running themed event days for their matches including ‘multicultural’ themed days. The fan engagement consists of free posters for fans which they are then encouraged to hold up before kick-off. This makes for a great sight and deeply connects the fans in the stadium, not to mention families and fans being happy with taking home a large free team poster.
Fans can also pick up free food samples, and free Wests Tigers magnets, play in the Tigers fan zone, have their picture taken with the Tiger cheer squad (not to mention the young Tiger cheer squad), participate in street art workshops and enter competitions for Tigers gear.
The food offering of having a traditional Kiwi ‘Hangi’ available for fans was a great bit of fan experience excellence that was a favourite amongst fans. It will be interesting to see what else the Tigers do for fans throughout the season on these themed game days. If the first is anything to go by with all of the fan engagement activities then the Tigers will be leading the way regarding the fan experience in the NRL.
As the title says, GO WEST of Sydney and experience local suburban rugby league footy in the essence of the good old days. Wear your old retro jerseys, grab a pie and beer, and have a laugh on the hill as there truly is something here for every fan.