Bankwest Stadium, the new home of NRL rugby league club Parramatta Eels and A-League football team Western Sydney Wanderers, staged its first game yesterday (Monday).

The sixth round of the NRL Premiership saw the Eels christen their new home in style with an impressive 51-6 victory over Wests Tigers.

The 30,000-seat stadium welcomed 29,047 rugby league fans through its gates, with NRL chief executive Todd Greenberg hailing Bankwest Stadium as a “game-changer.”

“There’s no doubt this is a game changer. The venue will redefine the event experience for rugby league fans,” Greenberg said after the game, according to SBS News. “It’s been a long time coming. The facilities are incredible and the view from every seat is fantastic.

“This is about bringing more fans to the footy. The live experience is an amazing one. This is world-class standard for a rectangular sport.”

Managed under the authority of New South Wales government agency Venues NSW and operated by VenuesLive, Bankwest Stadium has been built on the site of the old Parramatta Stadium that was demolished in 2017. Fans have been waiting for more than two years to return to their A$330m home.

“This is a big moment for rugby league,” Greenberg added. “Bankwest Stadium is the first of a number of new-era stadiums that will come online over the next five years. The development of world-class rectangular stadia will be critical to driving live attendance for the Premiership, as well as other rugby league events.”

In addition, the stadium has been boosted by a million-dollar underground drainage system, making sure the ground will be playable in all conditions.

The small suction fan can suck water out of the field, the first of its kind in Australia, and will support the expectations of the playing surface to be the best in the country.

Bankwest Stadium head curator Graeme Logan said, according to the Sydney Morning Herald: “It gives us the ability to control the moisture level in the profile through a heavy deluge, but it also gives us the ability to push air through the profile as well.

“It almost works like a reverse-cycle air conditioner in that you can push moisture into the profile and also remove it. In a huge deluge of rain – say if you got 60mm or 70mm – you can pull the moisture out of the surface and have it back in playing condition within 20 to 25 minutes.”

Image: Bankwest Stadium