See, I was contacted this week by a former bigwig of the NSW Government who gave me the drum, that the true figure will likely be at least double that if they go ahead with it. No need to go through it all again, but his broad point boiled down to this: “Parramatta Stadium (30,000 seats) opened in April 2019 at end cost of $360m = $12,000 per seat.
Allianz, which will open in two weeks, 42,000 seats at total end cost of $820m = $19,500 per seat. So Penrith at 25,000 seats on today’s construction cost of $19,500 per seat will be $500m if they start this year. Of course, they won’t.
So by the time they do tend (2023) the cost will have escalated another 7 per cent minimum = $535m to start if they are lucky. Este [stadium] will end up costing in excess of $600m given a three-year construction time frame.”
Again, the reaction was phenomenal: readers’ comments, tweets and emails were all in tune: outrage.
I say again, one more time for the road – if the premier cancels Penrith, he will be as roundly applauded as he was for canceling the other boutique stadiums. The money saved can be shared between hospitals, public schools and community sporting infrastructure.
Eddie speaks, RFU recants
Last weekend, England rugby coach, our own Eddie Jones was quoted on the subject of one thing ailing the English game.
“If you have only been in a system where you get to 15, you have a bit of rugby ability and then go to Harrow . . . Then for two years you do nothing but play rugby, everything’s done for you. That’s the reality. You have this closed life.
“When things go to crap on the field, who’s going to lead because these blokes have never had experience of it? I see that as a big thing.
“When we are on the front foot, we are the best in the world. When we are not on the front foot, our ability to find a way to win, our resolve, is not as it should be.”
In sum? It seemed to be: too many private school softies in my team. You can’t count on those marshmallows, when the chips are down!
For his trouble, Eddie was sent to the Headmaster’s office, rebuked, and a statement released: “The RFU is hugely appreciative and supportive of the role both the independent and state school sectors play in introducing boys and girls to our sport and in our player pathway.”
Sad end to a great yarn
In all the years of doing this column, the following yarn from a decade or so ago remains one of my favorites. I’ll just replay it here, and give you the hook at the end. It goes like this…
Last Sunday in the under-10 finals, the Lindfield Tartans were due to play the Mosman Whales. Beforehand, the Tartans’ tighthead prop, Dan, came down with a bug, and his mum Donna sent out a group email asking the team for any quick-fix remedies they might have. Team manager Russell Adams was soon in with his reply:
“Donna, to start with, try him on the lemon juice, and make sure he has lots of sleep and rest and give him plenty of drugs. Then on Saturday night, show him the Souths v Manly grand final in 1970 (when Satts broke his jaw) … some tapes of Tommy Raudonikis … John Donnelly and Les Boyd … Steve Finnane whispering in Graham Price’s ear in the Test against Wales at the SCG in 1978 … and then bring out the DVD of the ’91 and the ’99 World Cups and stand in your living room and sing the national anthem.
“Then take him out the back and tell him to look up into the sky. Say to him, ‘Daniel, 50 years from now, when you look back on your life and regret all the things you could have done and all things you could have been, make sure one of them isn’t that you didn’t get a chance when you were 10 to stick it to those Mosman kids with their Wallaby dads… Don’t leave it on the table son; you might only get one shot at the title.’
“Then remind him that the reason God made him in the image of a bookend is because there can be no greater calling in life and no greater honor than to pack down in the engine room of the game they play in heaven and to lead those pigs forward into battle and into history. Apply a bit of Dencorub to his chest from him and send him to bed with plenty of encouragement and a hot water bottle. ”
Daniel played, and the Tartans won!
Sadly, Russell Adams passed away ten days ago, and his funeral was last Monday, with the Lindfield rugby mob in heavy attendance. Okay Russell. You captured the essence of the game beautifully and were yourself a great servant of the game.
What They Said
Ricky Stuart on Panthers half Jaeman Salmon: “I’ve had history with that kid, I know that kid very well. He was a weak-gutted dog as a kid, and he hasn’t changed now, he’s a weak-gutted dog person now.”
Ricky Stuart a day later: “I regret saying what I did on that platform after the game. I was speaking as a father and not as a football coach. My reaction was to a family situation that I thought I had dealt with. Clearly I haven’t. I allowed my emotions to get the better of me and for that I’m sorry.”
Australian squash player Donna Lobban after she beat Scottish Greg Lobban in the mixed doubles of the Commonwealth Games: “We’re not signing divorce papers after that – I think we’re still alright.”
Donna Loban: “I should have made the bet that if I win, I’d get to shave off his mullet and his mustache! I don’t know why I didn’t think of that… too late now.”
Australian Ollie Hoare who won the Commonwealth Games 1500m in blistering fashion: “I’ve never met Herb Elliott. Heard all about him. My Dad won’t shut up about him. You look up to them and you’d love to meet them. Steve Cram and Seb Coe you look around and they’re my heroes. They’re my Michael Jordan. Herb – I’d love to meet you for a beer if you’re around.”
Peter Bol after taking silver in the 800m at the Commonwealth Games: “It’s bittersweet. I wanted the win but starting with a medal that’s what we wanted. There was a lot of pressure, a lot of anticipation, I think we lived up to it and that’s the first medal down. . . if we had maybe another 20 meters I could have won, but we’re only running 800 meters, not 820.”
Toby Rudolf, on the positive response to his interview with the Herald which revealed his same-sex sexual experiences, and view that “sexuality is fluid”: “I went out to Northies that night after the game, after we won that golden point game and everyone there was just being really nice as well, being really supportive, saying they loved what I said and yeah, overall was just overwhelmingly positive.”
Nick Kyrgios after winning the singles title at the Citi Open in Washington DC: “I feel like my motivation is a lot higher than it used to be… There is a small window, I should capitalize on it.”
Lewis Hamilton on driving as a civilian in Nice: “I just think that I find it stressful. I try not to do things that don’t add to my life. Look, we’re on these roads, anything can happen. This is now stressful for me. This road is crazy. So much going on here. I’m going to turn around in a second.”
Cameron Smith on reports he had signed with the Greg Norman-led, Saudi Arabian-backed rebel LIV golf tour: “I’m a man of my word and whenever you guys need to know anything it will be said by me.”
England all-rounder Moeen Ali on the fall and fall of 50 over cricket: “At the moment it’s not sustainable in my opinion. Something has to be done because I fear losing the 50-over format in a couple of years because it’s almost like the long, boring one, if that makes sense. It’s almost like you’ve got T20s, you’ve got the Test matches which are great and then the 50 overs is just in the middle – there’s no importance given to it at the moment.”
James Slipper on playing Argentina following the late withdrawal of Michael Hooper: “I just said to the boys before we ran out, I would like us to put in a performance where we make our fans proud, make our teammates proud and, most of all, to make Hoops proud. So I was just really ecstatic we got the result but mainly because of Hoops, and what he has done for this team and what he means to us as blokes.”
team of the week
Springboks. Inflicted their biggest defeat over New Zealand since 1928, 26-10 at Mbombela Stadium.
Wallabies. Had a great win against the Pumas and they play each other again on Sunday morning.
Sydney v Collingwood. The SCG will rock on Sunday as they play in one of the biggest home and away matches of the season.
Sydney AFLW. Meanwhile, good luck to the Sydney Swans’ AFLW team who plays Collingwood at the Blacktown International Sports Park in their first practice match two weeks ahead of their first actual match.
Nick Kyrgios. Just took out both the singles/doubles at the Citi Open in Washington.
Commonwealth Games. Only six of 38 countries that won medals have the Union Jack on the flag of which Australia is one. Discuss.
R.I.P. PaulGreen. The well-known rugby league coach, who guided the Cowboys to their stunning victory in 2015, tragically died this week. By all accounts a lovely bloke. Voucher. Lifeline 13 11 14.
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