18 December 2017 – Media Release – Cumberland Council
A western Sydney stadium so run-down that visiting teams dubbed it “death valley” is set to get a new lease of life, with Cumberland Councillors unanimously passing a motion to build a new stadium with function facilities at Granville Park.
The current stadium is home to the first grade Two Blues Rugby Union team, which was founded in 1879, and currently boasts both men and women playing in the national squads.
However the world class players are let down by worn out and dilapidated facilities that have increasingly become a target for vandals.
Mayor Greg Cummings said a report is being prepared that will identify the resourcing requirements of the new facility.
“This decision is a win for both Granville and Greater Western Sydney, and an investment in the health and well-being of the local community,” Mayor Cummings said.
“The stadium and grounds at Granville Park are simply not up to scratch.
“The building is on its last legs; there are holes in the walls, the change rooms are falling apart, and there is wide spread damage to the roof and guttering.
“Western Sydney, and Granville Park in particular, routinely produces world class athletes. Unfortunately the stadiums and grounds they train and compete on are rarely of the same calibre.
“Cumberland Council has decided it’s time they get the facilities to match.”
The decision follows the release of early concept artwork in August 2017 that envisioned replacing the out-dated structure along Montrose Avenue with a new, state-of-the art pavilion and carrying out major upgrades to the playing fields.
The concept artwork shows a modern facility boasting ample elevated seating for a better crowd experience, four change rooms for male and female athletes, a strength and conditioning gym, plus separate rooms for time keepers and referees.
Granville Park was once the main sporting venue for the Parramatta district; originally a venue for horse-racing, cricket and athletics, rugby union and then rugby league.
The Parramatta Two Blues Rugby Club are pleased to announce a new community partnership with Wheelchair Sports NSW and Wheelchair Rugby NSW.
The newly formed partnership will see mutual branding as well as direct support from the Two Blues with the pending launch of the Two Blues Wheelchair Rugby Team to play in the Sydney Slam Series, the team will garner the Two Blues name, colours and branding during the competition.
The Two Blues also welcome NSW Gladiator Jake Field as a newly appointed club ambassador. Jake a former Two Blues player before his accident has since gone on to represent NSW, being part of the 2016 and 2017 Fierce4 Rugby National Championship winning squads and also been part of the Australian Development program.
Two Blues General Manager Craig Morgan said “we are delighted to announce this exciting new partnership in conjunction with Wheelchair Sports NSW and Wheelchair Rugby NSW. We share an extremely strong community commitment with this new partnership a great way to open and develop a relationship with another member organisation of the rugby family, enabling us to share support between the organisations but more so on the ground supporting the game, the teams and players through social inclusion and interaction. We would also like to welcome home Jake Field who returns to the Two Blues as a club ambassador. We look forward to getting out to support the Two Blues Wheelchair Rugby Team and I am sure our entire club will get behind the team”.
“Wheelchair Sports NSW is proud of the Wheelchair Rugby NSW program that provides an opportunity for our developing wheelchair rugby players to train and/or compete on the pathway to NSW and even Australian representation. This new Two Blues partnership is a testament to community recognition of the strength of our program and a chance to build greater community awareness of this great sport.” said Mark Wilson, Sports Development Officer Wheelchair Sports NSW.
About the Two Blues
The Two Blues are one of the most historic rugby clubs in Australia, founded in 1879 the club boast a proud history of developing Wallabies, Wallaroos and Super Rugby Players with a number of premierships to the clubs name.
About Wheelchair Rugby
Wheelchair Rugby is a fast paced, full contact team sport for male and female quadriplegics (tetraplegics) looking to get involved in a team sport.
The sport was originally called “Murderball” due to the aggressive nature of the game. It is a contact sport where collisions between wheelchairs form a major part of the game. Wheelchair Rugby combines elements of rugby, basketball and handball.
Men and women compete on the same teams and in the same competitions.
Australia is currently ranked number one in the world by the International Rugby Federation.
At the 2000 Sydney Paralympic Games, wheelchair rugby was recognised as a full medal sport for the first time. Since 200-, wheelchair rugby has been featured at every Paralympic Games.
As of 2016, more than 40 countries actively participate in wheelchair rugby, through competitive, development programs or for social recreation.
The 2018 Intrust Super Shute Shield Draw has been released with a huge first up clash with the Two Blues taking on premiership heavyweights Sydney University in an epic round one clash followed by Eastwood and then premiers Warringah in the first three rounds of competition.
There will be no easy games in 2018 with all clubs looking to make a mark on the competition with the standard going from strength to strength.
The Two Blues played host to the inaugural Western Sydney 7s Tournament on Saturday 4th November seeing 12 men’s team compete including premier teams from the Shute Shield alongside invitational teams, international teams from Fiji and the Nauru National side.
Fijian side Uluinakau took out the final defeating Liverpool City Cougars.
The tournament was held in conjunction with Tonga Day celebrations with the Two Blues supporting Tonga Day organisers with both events coming together in a very successful format, which we hope will continue into the future.
If Cumberland Council Administrator Viv May gets his way a new Cumberland Oval may rise from the ashes in Granville Park next year.
The existing sporting facilities at Granville Park would become unrecognisable under a bold plan to replace the outdated structure along Montrose Avenue with a new, state-of-the art pavilion including major upgrades to the playing fields estimated to cost $9 million.
Former Cumberland Oval was burnt down following Parramatta League’s first premiership victory in 1981. It is now the site of the new Western Sydney Stadium.
To recognise the new local government area Mr May has asked the General Manager to liaise with the appropriate authorities to have Granville Park renamed Cumberland Oval.
Mr May said he was disappointed that he was not in a position to approve the project prior to the caretaker period a month out of the September election.
“I am not in the practice of raising community expectation with financial fantasy but I had to wait for the Council’s resource plan which was approved at the last meeting. The plan clearly shows the project is affordable,” Mr May said.
Council has released early concept work that shows a modern facility boasting ample elevated seating for a better crowd experience, four change rooms for male and female athletes, strength and conditioning gym and separate rooms for time keepers and referees.
“Western Sydney routinely produces world class athletes. Unfortunately the stadiums and grounds they train on and compete on are rarely of the same calibre,” Mr May said.
“There are too many past their use by date and women’s participation in organised sport has been neglected.
“Council has commenced an audit of what it has, but also, more importantly, what it needs. It will be up to the incoming councillors to set the priority.
“Hopefully the days of its not what you know but who you know are gone.”
The proposal has found an enthusiastic backer in the resident Two Blues Rugby Union Club. Craig Morgan, General Manager of the Two Blues, agrees something
“A new facility would be absolutely huge for us. Our current one just isn’t up to scratch for a premier level club,” Mr Morgan said.
“Our existing facilities make it hard for us to attract and retain players. The Shute Shield is televised on 7TWO but we lose out on potential sponsorship and promotional opportunities because the producers won’t film our home games.
“A great facility is not only good for us. It will lift the reputation of the whole area. At the moment when we host a visiting club, our facilities don’t reflect well on us or our local community.
“We see ourselves as representatives of Western Sydney. We don’t want people looking down at us. We want to break the stereotypes.”