National Rugby League (NRL) club the Canterbury Bulldogs has confirmed it will move to Sydney’s new Bankwest Stadium in 2020 while its own ANZ Stadium home ground is redeveloped.
Bulldogs chief executive Andrew Hill said the Sydney-based club hopes to play as many matches as possible at ANZ Stadium before it is decommissioned, adding that one match will be played at Belmore Sports Ground plus a game in Perth at HBF Park.
Hill added: “With the enormous success of the State of Origin match in Perth last month, this is a fantastic opportunity for the Bulldogs to showcase themselves in a market that has embraced the game of rugby league and we thank the Western Australian Government for choosing the Bulldogs to be part of this opportunity moving forward.”
The club’s boss said it has not yet settled on an agreement for the number of games to be played at Bankwest Stadium – which opened in April and is home to the NRL’s Parramatta Eels and Wests Tigers – in the 2021 and 2022 seasons.
Work on ANZ Stadium will begin after the 2020 State of Origin series, in which the venue will host one game. Although a date has yet to be decided for the fixture, The Australian newspaper said work is expected to commence in June, meaning the NRL will need to find a new host for its grand finals in 2020, 2021 and 2022.
ANZ Stadium will retain hosting rights for the grand final until 2042 as revised plans were announced in March 2018 to redevelop the venue instead of demolishing and rebuilding it. The New South Wales government had intended on knocking down the 83,000-seat stadium and building a new one in its place, but backtracked on this decision in favour of refurbishing the existing venue.
ANZ Stadium will be redeveloped into a rectangular stadium seating between 70,000 and 75,000 fans. Work is expected to be completed in time for the 2023 NRL season.
The plans will bring 46,000 seats closer to the action, extending the stadium’s roofline to ensure all seats are undercover and delivering a better atmosphere and experience for all spectators. The major renovation intends to extend the life of the stadium by a further 40 years.
Last month, South Sydney, which is the other NRL tenant at ANZ Stadium, announced it would also play home games at Bankwest Stadium during the redevelopment.
Image: Bankwest Stadium