The Gardens Greyhound Sporting Complex (officially known as the Ladbrokes Gardens) is the result of a major transformation from Newcastle's second largest rectangular stadium into the city's main Greyhound venue in 2005. The transformation of the former soccer stadium has given the Hunter region a Greyhound venue up there with Australia's best.
Formally known as Breakers Stadium and also Topper Stadium, the venue is remembered by most as the home of the Newcastle Breakers who played in the old National Soccer League until they were forced out of the league due to financial reasons in 2000. The club had a strong vocal following and regularly attracted large crowds at the 11,000-capacity venue with many finals games selling-out.
The ground also went through a Rugby League era during the Super League days when the Hunter Mariners, formed in 1997, called the venue home. During this time the venue had a naming rights partner and was officially known as Topper Stadium. After just 2 years, the Mariners became defunct due to dwindling crowds, as did the Super League itself, which merged with the ARL to form the NRL.
As a Soccer venue, Breakers Stadium had a main grandstand with seating for approximately 1,000 fans as well as corporate boxes. Opposite this was another grandstand which also had broadcast facilities on top of it. Hills surrounded the rest of the ground, while it also had great lighting facilities for night matches.
Since the Breakers demise in 2000, the stadium has basically been left dormant with it seeing very little action. The redevelopment in 2005 has seen the main grandstand retained while apart from the lights, almost everything left from the Breakers days is history.
The Gardens, as it's now known, has a total capacity of around 2,000 including 1,100 seats. While the primary purpose of the venue is Greyhound Racing (held each Friday & Wednesday night), the in-field can also host Rugby League, Rugby Union and Soccer.