AAMI Park opens its doors

Austadiums   |  Saturday 8th May 2010

Melbourne's impressive new $267m rectangular stadium, AAMI Park, opened its doors on Friday as it played host to the Rugby League Test between Australia and New Zealand.

However an immense downpour prior and during the bulk of the game put somewhat of a dampener on the evening, with the revolutionary roof springing a number of leaks causing some Rugby League fans to get wet.

Melbourne and Olympic Parks Trust chief executive Brian Morris said the stadium would be completed over the coming weeks.

''Our venue was tested to its absolute limit in its debut event,'' Mr Morris said.

''On the whole the stadium performed well despite the leaks related to drainage works still to be completed on the roof guttering.''

Jane Wilson, a spokeswoman for Grocon, denied there were design faults or that construction had been compromised to meet the opening-night deadline.

''That's been there for a long time. Working towards that, there were always going to be weather issues,'' she said.

''I think it was a great night.''

State government minister Richard Wynne also defended the stadium.

''Like any major project like this, you do get teething problems in the first few days,'' he told Channel Nine.

A virtual sell-out crowd of 29,442 attended the opening event at the new stadium which Australia won 12-8 in the one-off Anzac Test. The official seating capacity of AAMI Park is 30,050.

Prior to the game, an opening ceremony was staged which featured a laser show, some of Melbourne's finest sporting events beamed onto the ground, and Ex-Bulldogs star Hazem El Masri had the honour of kicking the first goal at the new venue.

Green lasers spooling around the roof made for a spectacular welcome for fans and the stadium promises a landmark addition to Melbourne's sporting precinct where it is housed - directly across the road from the MCG.

Melbourne has always lacked a world-class rectangular stadium until now. Previously the Melbourne Storm played next door at Olympic Park - the future of that venue is unknown, while larger events have been staged at either the 55,000-seat Etihad Stadium or 100,000-capacity MCG. The new stadium sits nicely in the sports precinct along with Rod Laver arena, Hisense Arena and of course the MCG.

AAMI Park will host the Melbourne Storm (NRL), Melbourne Victory & Melbourne Heart (A-League) and the Melbourne Rebels (Super 15 Rugby).

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