Reds Super Rugby Stadium
Queensland Reds Super Rugby Stadium
Suncorp Stadium, formerly known as Lang Park, is a rectangular sporting stadium located in the Brisbane suburb of Milton, Queensland, Australia. Built on the site of a cemetery, the stadium has been the home of rugby league in Queensland since 1957 and today also hosts rugby union and soccer matches.
The site of Lang Park was originally the North Brisbane Burial Grounds, and until 1875 was Brisbane’s primary cemetery. By 1911 the area was heavily populated, so the Paddington Cemeteries Act (1911) was introduced and the site was redeveloped as a recreational site. In 1914 it was fenced off and named Lang Park after John Dunmore Lang.
In 1953 the Brisbane Rugby League (BRL) amalgamated with the Queensland Rugby League (QRL). QRL secretary Ron McAullife negotiated a 21 year lease of Lang Park from the Brisbane City Council in order to give the QRL a financially viable base of operations. The park had only the most basic facilities, and the QRL contributed £17,000 to its development.
Lang Park hosted its first game of first grade rugby league in 1957. In 1958 it hosted its first Brisbane rugby league grand final in which Brothers defeated Valleys 22 points to 7.
As the ground was used increasingly by the QRL it became no longer viable for use as a public recreation facility. In 1962 the Lang Park Trust was created under an act of Parliament. This allowed for the construction of the Frank Burke Stand (1962), Ron McAullife Stand (early 1970s) and the Western Grandstand (1994). The Trust had on its board one member from the Queensland Government, one member from the Brisbane City Council, two members from the Queensland Rugby League and one member from the Brisbane Rugby League.
From the 1960s Lang Park hosted interstate and international rugby league, including the inaugural Rugby League State of Origin match. During the 1970s it was the home ground of the Wests Panthers and from 1988 to 1992 it was also the home ground of the Brisbane Broncos.
On the 25/5/97 the 1996/1997 National Soccer League Grand final was played in front of then a capacity crowd of 40,446 where the Brisbane Strikers defeated Sydney United 2-0.
The stadium design allows most spectators to sit close to the field. Following its redevelopment, questions were raised about the standard of the surface, which was soft underfoot and sandy and was blamed for a spate of injuries to footballers using it (temporarily earning the stadium the nickname “Sandcorp Stadium” ).Prior to the redevelopment, the stadium was known as “The Cauldron”, and Queensland fans developed a reputation for vocal support of their teams, adding to this mythology.
Although the stadium has been the traditional home of rugby league in Queensland, it has also become the state’s premier venue for rugby union. Suncorp Stadium hosted games at the 2003 Rugby World Cup, however it reverted back to the name Lang Park for these games due to IRB restrictions on stadium sponsorships.
In 2006, the stadium became the new home of the Queensland Reds Super 14 team when they moved from their former home at Ballymore Stadium. This move caused some disquiet amongst rugby traditionalists however was accepted by Queensland Rugby Union CEO Theo Psaros, who said that “our hearts may be at Ballymore but our heads say it’s time to move.”
On July 29, 2006 the Bledisloe Cup clash between Australia and the All Blacks returned to Brisbane for the first time in over a decade for the 2006 Tri Nations Series. Though Australia narrowly lost the match, the game saw a new ground record set.
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