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Redfern Oval is an Australian football ground, in the Sydney suburb of Redfern, New South Wales. The South Sydney Rabbitohs Rugby League Football Club played at Redfern Oval between 1948 and 1987.[4] Rabbitoh supporters often refer to Redfern Oval as "The Holy Land".[citation needed]

Metricon High Performance Centre
Redfern Oval RTR 2009.jpg
Redfern Oval, Rabbitohs vs Tigers trial game in 2009
Full nameRedfern Oval
LocationRedfern, New South Wales
Capacity5,000 (2,500 seated) (formerly 20,000)
Record attendance24,219 [1]
Field size130m x 84m
SurfaceGrass
Construction
Opened1885 [3]
Renovated1946,1957,2007 [2]
Tenants
South Sydney Rabbitohs (NSWRL) (1948-1987,1996)
Redfern All Blacks
South Sydney Rabbitohs (Admin and Training) 1948-present
South Sydney Rabbitohs (Canterbury Cup) 2019-present

The former National Rugby League ground had a main grandstand on the wing with seats on either side and a hill surrounding the rest of the ground with a few rows of seats near the fence. The total capacity of the ground was around the 20,000 mark, until the redevelopment.

The current ground has a lone grandstand with bench style seating, with the structure incorporating the Rabbitohs' training equipment/gym, as well as a cafe and basic luxury hospitality. The seating is covered by a large roof spanning the width of the structure. The stand is wheelchair accessible and also contains hearing loop accessibility.

The player's tunnel is accessed by a small staircase which is below field level. Around the rest of the ground (which is now all public park, including the field) is three rows of terraced, hill seating.

$19 million was spent by the City of Sydney Council to completely upgrade and renovate Redfern Oval which has allowed the Rabbitohs to return to Redfern in 2009 with state-of-the-art training facilities for players and coaches.

The upgrade offers the Rabbitohs a professional standard playing surface and facilities to allow the oval to be used as their preferred training ground and for a limited number of pre-season and exhibition matches.

Although Redfern Oval is no longer used as a venue for first grade rugby league it is still used as a home ground for Souths in the Jersey Flegg competition, the South Sydney Canterbury Cup team and the local Sydney combined competition.

Contents

HistoryEdit

Redfern Oval was designed and constructed during the 1880s as a Victorian pleasure ground with ornamental gardens, cricket pitches, bowling green and a bandstand. In 1903, legendary cricketer Victor Trumper played at the ground and reportedly hit a ball out of the field which went through the second-floor window of the boot factory across the road where a block of apartments now stand.

It was not until 1946 that South Sydney made a formal proposal to make Redfern Oval as their permanent home ground. As a result, Redfern Council added spectator seating and a hill at the oval for fans to watch the game.[5]

The Rabbitohs Use of the ParkEdit

Premiership Matches (1948 - 1987)Edit

In 1948, the South Sydney Rabbitohs began playing at the ground, as part of their home-ground usage. The first match played at the ground was on 17 April 1948 against arch rivals Eastern Suburbs with the match finishing in a 19-19 draw. Souths played at Redfern until the end of 1987, where they move to the Sydney Football Stadium the following year.

In July 1987 Souths played Manly in front of a premiership record crowd of 23,257.[6] The venue's all-time attendance record of 24,219 on 26 March 1967 in a Pre-season Cup double header featuring South Sydney vs St George and Balmain vs Manly-Warringah.

After 1987, Redfern was only used in the premiership as South Sydney's training ground. However, it did host the Charity Shield game between the Rabbitohs and St George in 1988, the last time the venue hosted the game between the clubs. Redfern also as hosted two games of the 1995 Tooheys Challenge Cup pre-season competition with a double header on 11 February. In the early game Cronulla defeated the Sydney Tigers 18-10, while the Rabbitohs marked their return to the ground with a 14-19 loss to a new team in the premiership, the Perth based Western Reds.

After a break of 9 years, Redfern Oval returned as South Sydney's home ground for three games in the 1996 ARL season. Its return match saw the Gold Coast Chargers pip the Rabbitohs 18-16. South Sydney then won their final two premiership games at the ground, defeating the Western Reds 24-18, before accounting for the South Queensland Crushers 48-16 on 14 July 1996 in front of 3,107 fans.[7]

Return to Redfern / RTR (2009 – present)Edit

Metricon High Performance CentreEdit

On January 18th 2019, South Sydney Rabbitohs announced a partnership with home builder, Metricon, to have naming rights to the Rabbitohs High Performance Centre at Redfern Oval for two years.

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ 1967 NSWRFL Pre-season Cup
  2. ^ http://www.go1.rabbitohs.com.au/news/2015/02/11/the_rabbitohs_at_red.html
  3. ^ http://www.cityofsydney.nsw.gov.au/learn/sydneys-history/people-and-places/park-histories/redfern-park
  4. ^ Club Records Archived 19 March 2012 at the Wayback Machine at rabbitohs.com.au
  5. ^ "The Rabbitohs & Redfern Oval". South Sydney Rabbitohs.
  6. ^ "Austadiums". Australia. 9 December 2010. p. 1. Retrieved 22 April 2010.
  7. ^ Redfern Oval @ Rugby League Project

External linksEdit