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Five reasons it’s good news if the Brumbies are safe

By Michael Cooney - 29 March 2017 5

Brumbies

Brumbies fans don’t come more loyal or passionate than rugby obsessive Michael Cooney, which is why we reckon he’s qualified to brief us all on the benefits for Canberrans of certainty about the team’s future in the capital region

1. Now we might get Adele. It’s not just about sport.

Stay with me on this one. The Brumbies are more than just a rugby team. They’re an anchor tenant for a big public facility in Canberra – GIO Stadium – and that means their continued presence is essential to the viability of a stadium in Civic.

Who knows, maybe we’ll attract one of those crazy darts events that ends in a riot of plastic chairs and guys with circular swirls of hair colour standing on picnic tables. The possibilities are endless.

2. Now we might get A-League soccer – and it’s good for the Raiders’ bottom line. It’s not just about rugby.

Saving the Brumbies means saving the Lakeside Stadium dream and that means all sorts of possibilities. A-League soccer will be a lot more financially viable here with a right-sized stadium down town. The Raiders’ bottom line will be better in a stadium where the owner (the Government, most likely) makes more money per seat.

Growth begets growth and now we have a chance to “make the pie higher” in George W Bush’s famous phrase.

3. The southern end of Civic is going to be awesome. It’s not just about events.

Picture what the land between the Lakeside and the ANU used to be like. If you don’t remember, google “car park”. Honestly, it wasn’t even good for skateboards. Now picture New Acton.

Now, picture something that great between Constitution Avenue and Parkes Way you really have something great for our city. I’ve lived in Canberra so long I had the Electric Shadows poster on the back of a toilet door and seriously, it’s been a night time desert down there since the 1980s when they used to close the bar next to the movies just before the movie finished.

If the Brumbies really are staying, all that changes.

4. Big events bring people together and that really matters. It’s not just about buildings.

What’s the biggest difference between Sydney and Melbourne? Melbourne people basically like other Melbourne people. Sydney people basically don’t like other Sydney people.

Why? Because Sydney has less social capital – less trust in strangers. And that’s because there are fewer chances for everyone in Sydney to get together.

As a city, when in doubt, there’s a simple rule: don’t be Sydney. So let’s keep anything that brings lots of people together in one place so we know that strangers who look, sound or sing different from you are actually people who will probably help you on to the bus, not people who you should be afraid of.

5. We get to keep beating New South Wales. I admit, it’s mostly about rugby.

WE GET TO KEEP BEATING NEW SOUTH WALES, PEOPLE.

Rugby is the only big sport in which we get to do that.

The Raiders can stick it up flash parts of Sydney from time to time, but as satisfying as that is, nothing is as satisfying as beating the Tahs.

Geoff Didier says that on the bus home from Concord Oval in 1994 after the first time the ACT ever beat NSW in rugby, there was:

“A lot of singing, a lot of drinking, and a lot of nudity.”

Happily, I have to take his word for that. But even I was there in the stands in 2013 when we rolled the British and Irish Lions and my son and I nearly cried, it wasn’t as good as beating NSW in March that year. Oh my, the last try against New South Wales on the Centenary Long Weekend, when the kick through bounced high and then came down into the arms of Robbie-Coleman-from-Queanbeyan and he leapt over the line and we leapt for joy on our own special day.

Being there was a moment never to forget. And if the Brumbies are staying, we get to do it again next year.

Michael Cooney got off school to see the ACT beat Argentina at Rugby Park Ainslie in 1983.

Caption: Michael Conney supporting the Brumbies v Warratahs – pictured yelling bottom right.

What’s Your opinion?


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5 Responses to
Five reasons it’s good news if the Brumbies are safe
Michael Cooney 8:36 pm 30 Mar 17

Loving the memories of games past. Ireland at Manuka in 1994 was a grand day; and the British and Irish Lions at Seiffert in 1989…

John Moulis 9:10 am 30 Mar 17

dungfungus said :

“Michael Cooney got off school to see the ACT beat Argentina at Rugby Park Ainslie in 1983.”

I saw Argentina play NSW Country (I think) at Narrabri the same year. I can’t remember who won but it was a great game .
That’s the time when players represented their regions/countries and not their wallets.

I was at Manuka Oval that day in 1990 when the Springboks played outside South Africa for the first time since the end of the boycott.

dungfungus 2:18 pm 29 Mar 17

“Michael Cooney got off school to see the ACT beat Argentina at Rugby Park Ainslie in 1983.”

I saw Argentina play NSW Country (I think) at Narrabri the same year. I can’t remember who won but it was a great game .
That’s the time when players represented their regions/countries and not their wallets.

Heavs 1:33 pm 29 Mar 17

dungfungus said :

You speak for only 12,000 people Michael.

Sure, there are thousands more that watch the Brumbies via Foxtel at home but it doesn’t matter to those viewers where the game is played.

I don’t think a heated indoor stadium will increase the numbers who will go and watch a game either and the future of Rugby in Australia is up in the air too.

We don’t need a new Civic stadium or convention centre. ACT ratepayers pockets aren’t deep enough to fund any more fantasies.

See I think if they built a spanking new stadium it would instantly increase the crowds to near capacity for both rugby codes. Canberra people like a scene or an event. If it is comfortable and warm during the depths of winter all the better.

Look at Adelaide Oval and the numbers they are getting to footy games now there is a new spanking stadium that is still ‘sexy’. Port used to have to put tarps over half the seating in the stadium so it didn’t look as empty and now they are playing to sell out crowds.

Now whether I think the Government should pay for it is up for argument. There are only so many shekels to go around. I think at a minimum if they did go ahead with the stadium then any government funding to the franchises should be stopped immediately. I reckon you would need a pretty strong argument about the value in spending half a billion to enliven that part of the city for 18 nights a year.

dungfungus 11:31 am 29 Mar 17

You speak for only 12,000 people Michael.

Sure, there are thousands more that watch the Brumbies via Foxtel at home but it doesn’t matter to those viewers where the game is played.

I don’t think a heated indoor stadium will increase the numbers who will go and watch a game either and the future of Rugby in Australia is up in the air too.

We don’t need a new Civic stadium or convention centre. ACT ratepayers pockets aren’t deep enough to fund any more fantasies.

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