04 September 2012

End of the season

I'm a relative newcomer to rugby league. I started watching State Of Origin games in about 1997/1998, and have watched that competition every year since. But it was only in about 2010 that I really started to watch any regular season NRL games on TV, and in 2011 I went to my first live game at Suncorp Stadium.

Over the course of 2011, Kara would watch the Friday night footy with me as well. Earlier this year, as a Valentine's Day outing, she bought tickets to the first Broncos home game of the 2012 season. The Broncos lost to the Cowboys, but it was a good night out, and Kara enjoyed her first live experience of rugby league.

The deal we got for the first game led to a discounted offer on season tickets for the rest of the home games - which we jumped at. This is the first time either of us have had season tickets to a sport of any kind. With free shuttle buses, and free travel on Brisbane Transport buses and all the trains, it's easy to get to the games, and even easier to get home. The choices of food at the stadium are reasonable considering, and sometimes we take our own food, like sandwiches, or cheese and crackers. All in all, it's a cheap date night.
My wife, the rugby league convert - note the cap and scarf in Broncos colours!

The seats we managed to get were in Row 3 - really close to the field.

Broncos vs Raiders, 13 April 2012.

 Sitting close to the field does have its disadvantages - you can see the ponchos in the picture above, fighting some drizzle, but there have been a few game days when it really rained.

Being at the stadium means you do miss out on TV commentary, which does have its uses in explaining some of the finer points in the game, and understanding more of the refereeing decisions. That being said, "Put a jersey on, ref!" coming from the seats near you is also highly entertaining.

For atmosphere, being at the stadium is great. We get good views of the tryline:

Broncos score a try!

Then there's the cheerleaders.

And the mascots.

All of which you miss out on your television screens.

Our 5th wedding anniversary coincided with a home  game, so we went in early to have dinner at nearby pizza place. Kara got me a Broncos jersey as an anniversary present.

Kara in a State of Origin jumper, me in my brand new jersey.
Each week, the stadium puts names of fans who are celebrating birthdays, anniversaries, etc, up on the big screen. Kara had emailed them in advance, so our names were up there and read out over the PA for all to see and hear!

Our names on the big screen!

This Friday just gone (31 August) was the last game of the regular season before the finals ("playoffs" for Americans), and it was also the last home game of retiring legend Petero Civoniceva. We were among 35,000 others keen to see him farewelled with a win. The Broncos, who'd spent most of the first half of the season in 2nd or 3rd position, had dropped to 7th after 5 straight losses. A win this game would guarantee the team remained in the top 8, and would head into the finals.

As a part of Petero's send-off, fans were allowed onto the field 10 minutes after the game ended, once they'd finished setting up a stage for the speeches and presentations.
Kara and I on the field, getting photobombed.
Standing on the try line is a rather surreal experience.

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