Sport Comment: So you don't want brand new stadiums? Do you even sport, bro?

02:11  05 january  2018
02:11  05 january  2018 Source:   Sydney Morning Herald

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Join today and you can easily save your favourite articles, join in the conversation and comment , plus select which news your want direct to your inbox. Do you even sport , bro ? Andrew Webster. Contact via Email. Do you watch sport ? Do you attend these stadiums ?

An artist's impression of what the fan experience would be like in the new Allianz Stadium.© Supplied An artist's impression of what the fan experience would be like in the new Allianz Stadium.

The first day of the final Ashes Test started on Thursday beneath grey skies but, as always, the cricket soon became secondary.

The real highlight was the grand old lady herself, the Sydney Cricket Ground, and her delightful mix of old and new and old-new charm.

Look at the Members and Ladies pavilions and you can almost see Bradman or Trumper or even a tubby little Warnie on debut jogging down the race and past the pickets and out onto the emerald green turf.

That's the old. Over there is the new: the Bradman and Noble Stand, with its floating roof and comfy seats and microbrewery and designer fish-and-chips.

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Sure, the grand old lady is rough around the edges in parts but in time she'll receive the appropriate facelift, evolving with the times as she always does. Melburnians are proud of their MCG — but never underestimate the affection Sydney has for its cricket ground.

Next door, sits the ugly sister. Allianz Stadium looks like she headed out on the town on Christmas Eve and has only just stumbled through the door asking, "What day is it?"

That bloody Allianz. Loose as Mother Goose. She's a hazard to herself and to others. Best to knock her down and start again.

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I’ve watched as tax payer dollars fund stadium construction projects while schools go without teachers and educational materials. Join our Good Men Project Sports Facebook Page! And, if you like that, you might want a daily dose of Good Leave a Reply. 1 Comment on " Do You Even Sports Bro ?"

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Now that we're into the New Year it shouldn't be long before the debate reignites about whether the NSW Government should backflip on its announcement to knock down Allianz and ANZ Stadium as part of its $2.3 billion rebuild of Sydney's sad-and-sorry stadiums.

Petitions have been signed, angry letters to the editor penned. Where was all this palpable fury in the last three years when two previous announcements were made about spending hundreds of millions of taxpayers' dollars on new stadiums?

The questions I have for those so vehemently against any investment in these new facilities are these …

World class: an artist's impression of what the fan experience would be like in the new Allianz Stadium.© Supplied World class: an artist's impression of what the fan experience would be like in the new Allianz Stadium. Do you watch sport? Do you attend these stadiums? Do you sit with the punters in general admission?

Do you wait 20 minutes in a food or beer line at Allianz that snakes through a narrow concourse like an out-of-control conga line, and then later stand at the trough in a men's bathroom that reeks of p***? Or, if you are a woman, do you line-up outside the bathroom, in another conga line, among the throng of people on the same narrow concourse, waiting for a vacant stall?

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Do you watch matches at ANZ Stadium, a stadium that was initially built for the purpose of the opening ceremony at the Sydney Olympics when Nikki Webster flew from stand to stand suspended on a wire, and then a week or so later when Cathy Freeman won gold in the 400 metres?

Do you spend most of the time watching the massive screens because the slope of the seating is so inappropriate for rugby league, union and football?

And, while I've got you, have you attended sport in any other cities lately? Suncorp in Brisbane? Etihad or AAMI Park in Melbourne? The new Adelaide Oval?

How about other stadiums, in other big, brash global cities that Sydney supposedly considers itself to be?

I have. It's my job. I don't know much but I know a decent stadium when I see one and I can report Allianz and ANZ Stadium are light years behind most of the world.

The most annoying, simplistic argument against these new stadiums is the cost.

Waste of money! Priorities! No stadiums until we get more baby incubators and less demountable classrooms!

If we follow that logic, we can forget about the $1.5 billion relocation of the Powerhouse Museum to Parramatta, the $344 million Sydney Modern extension of the art gallery and the $200 million refurb of the Sydney Opera House.

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While we're at it, how about Clover Moore's $11 million, 58-metre Cloud Arch sculpture-thing at Town Hall some are affectionately calling "The Tapeworm"? There's a lot of baby incubators right there, Lord Mayor.

Why are the arts more important than sport? They're not. They are equally important to our state.

Perhaps we shouldn't build anything at all, even if the $2.3 billion allocated to stadiums equates to one per cent of the $200 billion that will be spent on health and education over the same five-year period that the stadiums will be built.

What else are you people up in arms about? Nobody goes to the footy! Waste of money! Priorities! Baby incubators!

Sydneysiders aren't going to sport for a lot of reasons: cost, transport, rugby league is better in HD on TV with UberEATS. We're all different kinds of whingers in our own special way.

But you are deluding yourself if you don't think a major factor is the quality of the stadiums we are attending, for all the reasons stated above. I am not paying good money to wait 20 minutes for a beer with no head. We are not savages.

Next? Why do we have to knock the stadiums down and build them again? Why can't we just spend a few million here and there? Waste of money! Priorities! Baby incubators!

Because it will be like putting "lipstick on a pig". Why not do something now, while the NSW Government is in surplus and cashed-up, to build something that will last decades instead of band-aiding something that will need to be torn down in a few years?

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The logical thing would've been to redo Allianz and spruce up ANZ Stadium for the big games that attract the big crowds — grand finals, Origins, A-league derbies and the visiting English Premier League sides — because in 2019 the western suburbs will have a world-class, 30,000-seat stadium at Parramatta.

Instead, politics got in the way. That's why we've had three stadium policy announcements in three years. Premier Gladys Berejiklian appears to be rock-solid at the moment but this is NSW where the battle between Sydney's east and west overrides commonsense.

NSW Opposition leader Luke Foley needs to tell us exactly how he feels about ANZ Stadium. In February 2016 he said he wanted ANZ to become the "finest rectangular stadium in the Asia-Pacific". Now he thinks rebuilding stadiums is a waste of money. Which one is it, Mr Foley?

Around and around we go …

Building assessments of Allianz insist it needs $360 million spent on it in the next four years just to keep it open because of safety and compliance issues — people just scoff and say that's been made-up.

Suggest big sporting events drag in hundreds of millions of dollars into the local economy each year — and its just laughed away. Sport? Really? It's not that important, is it?

That logic reminds me of the outcry each time an increase in prizemoney for major racing carnivals, such as The Championships, is announced. Without the billions of dollars in wagering turnover on horseracing, how many baby incubators do you think this state would have?

Perhaps the silliest argument, though, comes from those who believe that if you support a new Allianz Stadium you are somehow in the pocket of the SCG Trust and its powerful trustees, including the influential broadcaster Alan Jones. That you're more worried about the big end of town than those at the little end.

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It's an odious suggestion.

For some of us, it's as simple as wanting to watch our sport in decent facilities that have barely been touched in the last 20 to 30 years.

No agenda. No politics. No east versus west. Just as lovers of sport, who actually attend it.

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The Karmichael Hunt drug possession charge is much murkier than it seems.

His career in rugby union might not be over as many have already assumed since he was arrested in Brisbane's Fortitude Valley on December 30 after police allegedly found him in possession of a white powder.

He is set to appear in Brisbane Magistrates Court on January 29 after being charged on two counts of drug possession. He pleaded guilty to four charges of cocaine possession in early 2015.

Murky situation: Karmichael Hunt. Photo: AAP

It's understood Hunt was drunkenly wrestling with a mate on the street when police stopped and searched them, with the white powdery substance found on the pavement next to them.

While deeply disappointed in Hunt's actions, especially after the Reds and Wallabies coach Michael Cheika showed so much faith in him after he last busted with cocaine, some at Rugby Australia already believe it will difficult to tear up his contract.

RA is eagerly waiting to see a charge sheet from Queensland police so it can understand exactly what has been alleged.

The quote

"As far as healing powers … I'm playing the best basketball of my life, and I'm drinking some wine pretty much every day." — LeBron James on the healing power of wine. Some of us really need some healing, LeBron, so better make it a bottle. Actually, make it two.

Thumbs up

If only we could all be as positive as Caroline Buchanan, the BMX star who suffered collapsed lungs, a broken sternum and broken nose when a car she was in rolled on a private property outside of Canberra. She's been posting horrific images on Instagram, but already talking about comebacks and thanking fans. She's a ripper. Get well soon.

Rough start to the year: Caroline Buchanan. Photo: AP

Thumbs down

Melbourne likes to call itself the sporting centre of the entire universe, which is fair enough. They do it very well and it's fun doing it with them. But much like some of the track bias they seem to reserve for headline race days, the lifeless MCG pitch completely trashed the spectacle that is the Boxing Day Test. Rip it up, start again.

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Joe Root. He's become a bit of a punching bag this summer. Soft. Little boy. They're joking on social media that he's the spitting image of Ellen DeGeneres. But the England captain is staving off calls for his axing as captain as he finally makes some runs in this fifth Test.

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