AAMI Park the shape of things to come - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

AAMI Park the shape of things to come

By Guy Hand 07/05/2010 11:26:04 PM Comments (0)

In a city where sporting venues are traditionally oval, AAMI Park's opening night proved it might be one right out of the box.

The new Melbourne rectangular stadium's first event - Australia's 12-8 win over New Zealand in a rugby league Test - provided plenty of wide smiles mixed with the odd teething problem.

In 80 minutes of football packed with big hits, the biggest of all may have been the stadium and its pillarless design.

Builders Grocon say no seat in the striking bubble-roofed stadium is more than 30 metres from the action.

The front rows are as up close and personal as you can get without being Cameron Smith or Billy Slater - just five metres from the game.

All for just under $268 million - the finished cost of the new permanent home for the Melbourne Storm, rugby union's Melbourne Rebels and A-League soccer's Melbourne Victory and Melbourne Heart.

But there was a little trouble with the "bubble".

It rained heavily before and during the match meaning wet seats for many of the 30,000 spectators.

For Victorian rugby league fans, it wasn't the most rain they've had on their parade in the past month.

There was an embarrassing pre-match holdup as the vehicle carrying the PA equipment stopped on the field, needing to be pushed off before the match could begin.

And on-field, Melbourne's favourite adopted league son Smith lasted just 25 minutes at his new home ground before injury struck.

The good news was the frantic clean-up work outside the stadium was finished.

Green lasers spooling around the roof made for a spectacular welcome for fans and the stadium promises a landmark addition to Melbourne's sporting precinct where it is housed - directly across the road from the MCG.

Ex-Bulldogs star Hazem El Masri kicked a ceremonial goal in the pre-match entertainment and two Australians put their names into the record books once the on-field action started.

Centre Jamie Lyon became the first points-scorer at the venue with a penalty goal and winger Brett Morris the first try-scorer.

But league, union and soccer fans and officials in Melbourne would have been smiling regardless of the result.

For all three codes in an AFL-mad city, AAMI Park is the shape of things to come.

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