Force Super Rugby Stadium
Western Force Super 15 Rugby Stadium
In 2010 the Force moved into the 20,500 seat nib Stadium which was formerly known as the Members Equity Stadium. The reason for the move to the smaller venue is that it was a rectangular field, as opposed to the oval at Subiaco which is poor viewing for Rugby fans.
The Force, along with football club Perth Glory are pushing for an upgrade to nib Stadium, which would create a truly world class rectangular venue for the two clubs.
The Force were given a limited grant by the government to improve facilities at the stadium, increased capacity from 18,500 to 20,500 in time for the 2010 Super Rugby Season.
– Capacity 43 500
Subiaco Oval is the major sports stadium in Perth, Western Australia. It is located in the suburb of Subiaco, a few kilometres west of Perth’s city centre. It is mainly used for Australian rules football matches, being the home ground for the West Coast Eagles and Fremantle Football Club, both teams in the Australian Football League. “Subi” is also occasionally used for West Australian Football League matches. The ground is not exclusively used for Australian rules football though, having hosted National Soccer League grand finals, regular rugby union Test Matches (including games in the 2003 Rugby World Cup), International Rules and sometimes, rock concerts. It became the home ground for Perth’s Super 14 rugby union team, the Western Force, in 2006.
The ground was first built in 1908, at which point it was known as “Mueller Park”. In 1969 a three-tier stand was constructed at the western end of the stadium, and in 1981 a two-tier stand on the members’ wing was completed. A further redevelopment came in 1995 with the opening of the new two-tier “ANZ Stand” opposite the members’ wing. In 1997, light towers were installed at the ground. The last redevelopment, which converted the stadium into an all-seat venue, was completed in 1999 at a cost of $AUD35 million.
The three-tier stand is named the Orr-Simmons-Hill stand, in honour of three leading figures in the history of WAFL (then known as WANFL). This was proudly and prominently displayed on the exterior western face of the stand right up until the early 1990s, when it was replaced with the logo of a commercial sponsor. There is a small plaque remembering the original naming of the stand, mounted in one of the stair wells, and each tier has a sign on the back interior wall; for example, the first (ground) tier is the R.W Hill Tier, second is the W.R Orr Tier. (W.R Orr was Secretary of the WANFL in 1932, R.W Hill was Captain of West Perth in 1940 and 1941, and Secretary of the WANFL in 1968).
In 2003, the retail telecommunications company Crazy John’s controversially attempted to buy the naming rights to the ground, but the bid was denied by the local Subiaco council, which refused planning permission for advertising signs on the stadium’s exterior. More recently, in May 2005, a non-commercial name change was being considered; the proposal to rename to ‘ANZAC Field’ was put forward by the WA Football Commission, but rejected by the Minister for Veterans Affairs, Deanne Kelly (Anzac is a federally protected word).
An empty Subiaco OvalSubiaco Oval’s capacity is 43,500 fully-seated. The ground is floodlit by four lighting towers. There was some initial concern vented surrounding the lack of aesthetic value of the proposed floodlights, but after their deployment these concerns quickly subdued.
The Western Australian Football Commission has a $235 million plan to increase the stadium to a 60,000 seat venue. However, this is presently a matter of significant debate in Western Australia. The demand for a new stadium is undeniable (in 2005 the West Coast Eagles had 42,000 season ticket holders in a 43,000 seat stadium), but the option of developing and expanding Subiaco in order to meet this higher demand has been called into question. An alternative plan has been tabled for the construction of a new stadium, called “Stadium WA,” which would seat 70,000 and have retractable seating to cater for rectangular field codes, and appeared to be the lead candidate. However, it has become evident that it may be more cost effective to re-develop Subiaco to 60,000 seats, and redevelop Members Equity Stadium, a small rectangular stadium in Perth, to 35,000 seats to cater for rectangular field sports.
The Government of Western Australia is expected to make a decision some time in 2007 regarding the future of the stadium. Since the passing of notable Perth-based sports broadcaster Wally Foreman in November 2006, speculation has arisen that should a new stadium be built, it will be called “Wally Foreman Stadium.” Foreman was a vocal advocate over a period of many years for the improvement of sports stadia in Western Australia.
Notably, Subiaco Oval has been the venue of major music concerts, including Led Zeppelin in 1972 and Paul McCartney in 1993.
In AFL circles, Subiaco Oval is considered to have the largest playing surface in the competition, with visiting interstate teams often having to adjust their playing style accordingly.
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