Stadium Australia (formerly known as the ANZ Stadium for sponsorship reasons) is one of Australia’s most versatile venues, hosting AFL, Cricket, Football (Soccer) Rugby League and Rugby Union since its opening in 1999.
The stadium was built for the 2000 Summer Olympics in Sydney, hosting the Athletics events, as well as the Opening and Closing Ceremonies and the Final of the Football. With a then capacity of 115,000, Stadium Australia witnessed the standout moment of the 2000 Olympics – Australia’s Cathy Freeman winning the Women’s 400 metres Gold Medal.
Following the Olympics, the stadium underwent reconfiguration work that would allow it to host sports on an oval field, such as AFL and Cricket. This reduced the capacity to 82,500 for the oval field, or 84,000 with a rectangular field due to a movable seat section. Stadium Australia was known as the Telstra Stadium from 2002 until 2007, before becoming the ANZ Stadium.
Tenants: Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs & South Sydney Rabbitohs (NRL)
Rugby League at Stadium Australia
Although the ANZ Stadium is used for a range of sports, it is predominantly used for Rugby League and is the home of two NRL clubs. The Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs began playing matches there when the stadium opened in 1999 before moving permanently in 2005. The South Sydney Rabbitohs meanwhile began calling it their permanent home in 2006. The St. George Illawarra Dragons, Wests Tigers and Parramatta Eels have all temporarily played home fixtures there as well whilst there own stadiums were being developed.
The first event held there in March 1999 was in fact a NRL double-header, with the NRL Grand Final held later that year drawing a world record crowd for a rugby league match of just shy of 108,000. The NRL Grand Final has been held at the ANZ Stadium ever since. The home fixture for New South Wales in the State of Origin has also continuously been held there since 1999.
Football/Soccer at Stadium Australia
The official opening of the stadium happened in June 1999 when the Socceroos (the Australian national football team) played a FIFA All Stars team. The Socceroos have continued to use the stadium for their most important matches, including a 2005 playoff victory over Uruguay which qualified them for the 2006 FIFA World Cup. Several matches of the 2015 AFC Asian Cup were also played at the ANZ Stadium, including the Final in which Australia defeated South Korea. Matches at the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup will also be held in the stadium, including the Final.
Sydney FC and the Western Sydney Wanderers have played a number of exhibition matches there including against David Beckham’s LA Galaxy in 2007, as well as Premier League teams such as Arsenal, Chelsea, Everton, Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur. The A-League All Stars also played Manchester United in the stadium in 2013 and Juventus in 2014. Sydney FC meanwhile have also played several A-League fixtures in the stadium, whilst the Western Sydney Wanderers called it home between 2016 and 2019 whilst their new stadium was built.
AFL at Stadium Australia
A Sydney Swans v Collingwood match in August 2003 drew the biggest crowd to an AFL match outside of Victoria, with a crowd of 72,393. The Swans played between three and four matches at the ANZ Stadium from 2002 to 2015, including the majority of their finals before moving all of their home matches to the Sydney Cricket Ground.
Rugby Union at Stadium Australia
The 1999 Bledisloe Cup match between Australia and New Zealand was held at Stadium Australia in front of a then record crowd of 107,000. This was bettered a year later when the same fixture had an attendance of 109,874 to witness one of Rugby’s great matches, with the All Blacks winning 39-35.
Seven matches of the 2003 Rugby World Cup were held at Stadium Australia including the Final, in which England defeated the hosts in extra time thanks to Jonny Wilkinson’s drop goal. The stadium continues to regularly host Wallabies matches, including the last test against the British and Irish Lions in 2013 which the Lions won 41-16 to win the series.
Super Rugby’s New South Wales Waratahs played at least one game per season at the ANZ Stadium from 2009 until 2015, including the Super Rugby Final in 2015 in which they defeated the Canterbury Crusaders 33-32.
Cricket at Stadium Australia
The ANZ Stadium was the home of the Sydney Thunder of the BBL from 2011 to 2014, before they moved to the Sydney Showground. The first Twenty20 International took place in the stadium in February 2012 between Australia and India, hosting several T20I’s until 2014.
Other uses and Future
In August 1999, the NFL hosted an exhibition game between the Denver Broncos and San Diego Chargers known as the American Bowl. The Opening Game of the 2016 NCAA college football season was played there between the California Golden Bears and the Hawaii Rainbow Warriors, known as the Sydney Cup.
In 2017 it was announced that the ANZ Stadium would be demolished and rebuilt as a 75,000 seater rectangular stadium, just 18 years after first opening. This was quashed a year later, when it was revealed the stadium would instead be renovated to allow for a permanent rectangular pitch. Renovation plans were then called off in 2020.
Tickets at Stadium Australia
Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs (NRL)
Ticket information for the Bulldogs can be purchased through the official NRL website.
South Sydney Rabbitohs (NRL)
Ticket information for the Bulldogs can be purchased through the official NRL website here.
State of Origin (NRL)
Ticket information for the State of Origin will be available through the official NRL website.
Stadium Australia Tour
A 70 minute ANZ Stadium tour is available, further information is available on the official website.
Location & Travel to Stadium Australia
The Stadium Australia is located in the Sydney Olympic Park in western Sydney, approximately 13 kilometres from Sydney’s CBD.
Airport – Sydney (Kingsford Smith) Airport is the busiest airport in Australia, with 46 domestic and 43 international destinations.
Located approximately 5 miles south of Sydney’s city centre, the Airport Link train is the quickest and most convenient way of reaching the city – taking just 13 minutes and running every 10 minutes. Tickets cost $14.90.
Thinking of going to Sydney? Search & book your flights through Skyscanner here.
Bus – There are several bus lines that run to the Sydney Olympic Park:
- 401 from Lidcombe station
- 450 from Hurstville
- 525 from Parramatta station
- 525/526 from Burwood
- 526 from Sydney Olympic park Wharf
Further information is available on the NSW Transport website.
Driving & Parking – The Sydney Olympic Park is signposted when driving from:
- M4, Hill Road, Silverwater Road (from the West)
- Victoria Road, Homebush Bay Drive (from the North)
- M4, Parramatta Road & Homebush Bay Drive (from the East)
There is ample parking at Sydney Olympic Park which costs $30 on event days, however it is recommended to pre-book.
Train – The Olympic Park railway station is located just 400 metres from the stadium. There are trains every 10 to 20 minutes from Lidcombe Station during the week and every 10 minutes at the weekend on event days. Further information is available on the NSW Transport website.