What a game to open the new Parramatta Stadium!
I can understand from a neutral fan's POV (and more likely a Tigers fan's POV) that it was a pretty shit game, but from my point of view it couldn't have been better.
The Tigers were not great. Their defence was sloppy and their attack was weak. Unbelievably they completed around 80% of their sets apparently, but just couldn't do anything with the ball.
It's been a while since I've seen the Eels attack in that fashion. Moses had the ball on a string, Gutherson worked his arse off, Paulo brilliant, Jennings turned back the clock, Mannah was a man possessed...it's hard to fault anyone in blue and gold on that day (apart from maybe Taka, but I'll give him a pass because his fuckups were less noticeable this time).
As for the stadium.
When they talk about how steep the stands are they aren't fucking kidding. My seat is about two-thirds of the way up the second tier, and it was like climbing a mountain to get up there. Looking back down all I could think of was "Don't slip and fall on your way back down" because you'd be in a world of strife if it happened. Probably best that they only serve mid-strength beer there, I guess (one of the very few problems with the stadium).
We had a terrific view even from that high up. The atmosphere is electric, the crowd noise is loud. I can imagine it still having good atmosphere even when half full, but I will have to wait until that happens to make a judgement. me and my brother (I'm 6'3" and he's 6'5"). The seats are comfy enough, just regular plastic flip-up seats which was a bit of a problem when my 3 year-old nephew kept jumping up off his and then wanted to get back on but couldn't because it had flipped up again. Last time he's coming along for a few years, haha.
I was afraid that with the steepness of the stands I would have very little leg room, imagining that I would have my knees jamming into the back of the person's head in front, but there was enough room for both of us.
There are plenty of food outlets with a lot to choose from. Burgers, sushi, fried chicken, salads, plus your regular footy foods like chips, hot dogs and pies.
Food and drinks are pretty reasonably priced, especially when compared to other sporting stadiums. I can't wait to go back a few times to try out different things on the menu.
There are men's and women's toilets every 20-30m or so. Easy to find one when you are busting to go and don't want to miss too much of the footy.
The Leagues Club has had a bit of a facelift as well, with them adding in a cantina-style restaurant and brewery, as well as an arcade and bowling alley. They still have Sterlo's Bar which is great for a post-game discussion alongside a beer, and the bistro and Chinese restaurant are still there. Plenty of pokies still, so the club ain't going broke any time soon.
New car park out the front is good I suppose, but It does take away a little bit from the overall aesthetics and feel of the place. I'm not used to walking out of the club and seeing a monstrous car park instead of a footy stadium, but hey it had to go somewhere. Will be even more like that when they get the hotel built.
It was like a party atmosphere all around Parra. Streamers in the streets. Parra jerseys everywhere. People talking footy and showing excitement about the new stadium. Music and food trucks outside the stadium. I hope this keeps up as it seems like much more of an event, though I understand we can't open a new stadium every week. I will be interested to see what it's like on a Saturday night when we play the Titans for instance. Will be a completely different atmosphere.
When they say there isn't a bad seat in the house, they are bullshitting. I would say most seats would be great, but I had a mate who bought a ticket and ended up in the front row down in one of the corners. He had part of a fence obstructing his view. Luckily we were able to invite him up to sit with us for the second half. He said it shouldn't even be sold or at least state it has an obstructed view. I'm also disappointed that the NSW Gov has decided to stop people from parking on the Cumberland Hospital grounds next door. I've been parking there for 20 years and there's never been a problem. Pretty pissed off about that. Those are pretty much the only real negatives I could state about the day.
Overall a great experience and I would encourage everyone to try and get out there for a game, preferably one of the bigger games to ensure you get the full experience of the atmosphere.