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Waratahs’ Bankwest Stadium debut marred by poor turnout

Andrew Hore, chief executive of the New South Wales Waratahs, has vowed that the Super Rugby franchise will strive to turn attendances around at Bankwest Stadium after a disappointing turnout for the team’s debut at the new venue.

Just 10,605 fans attended the Waratahs’ loss to the Sharks at the 30,000-seat Bankwest Stadium, which opened earlier this month.

The stadium is also serving as the home of NRL rugby league club the Parramatta Eels and A-League football team Western Sydney Wanderers. The Eels christened the stadium in style with a 51-6 victory over Wests Tigers on April 22 in front of a near-capacity crowd of 29,047.

NRL chief executive Todd Greenberg hailed Bankwest Stadium as a “game-changer” for rugby league but enthusiasm for the sport’s other code was lacking on Saturday as the Waratahs slumped to a 23-15 defeat at a stadium that was only a third full.

“It’s not where we would have liked it to have been,” Hore said, according to the Sydney Morning Herald newspaper.

“But we’re not going to give up, no way. It’s a great stadium with a great public transport network, we just need to remain consistently visible in western Sydney.”

The fact that the Waratahs’ opponents were from South Africa and not local could have played a factor in the low turnout. The Herald noted that the game also took place on the last weekend of school holidays, while the Sydney Cricket Ground was hosting an AFL match on the same day.

Image: Bankwest Stadium