AAP Rugby

Bankwest set for A-League and NRL rush

By AAP Newswire

Bankwest Stadium's new surface is set to get a serious test of endurance when it hosts up to 10 A-League and NRL games in 15 days later this month.

In the same week NRL clubs move out of the $330 million venue and return to their spiritual homes, the A-League have kicked the door down and moved in.

Under its revised schedule released on Wednesday, the season will restart on July 16 with almost all of the matches will be played in NSW.

However the western Sydney stadium will be the most used, including a gruelling period of eight A-League fixtures in the space of just over two weeks.

Throw in a couple of NRL games, and groundsmen will be working overtime to ensure its new turf, installed this week, will survive the rush of games.

The spike in coronavirus cases and travel restrictions means the likes of Wellington, Adelaide United and Melbourne Victory will host games at the venue.

And there is a possibility it could be more with a number of fixtures on the A-League's revised schedule listed as "TBC".

The development comes just days after the NRL hastily commissioned a ground inspection due to two season-ending ACL injuries on Friday night.

The surface was later cleared, and NRL head of football Graham Annesley on Tuesday insisted the new turf wasn't a response to the injuries.

Bankwest Stadium has acted as one of three venues used by the league as part of their consolidated venue strategy following their COVID-19 lockdown.

Since resuming their season in late May, the ground has staged 10 NRL games.

Campbelltown Sports Stadium was also part of the league's grounds scheme and was used for 10 matches before fixtures were moved away due to workload.

The NRL has yet to confirm its schedule after this weekend, having only locked in this week's venues to coincide with a capped number of fans' return to games.

Clubs are expected to return to their traditional home grounds from next week, leaving only the Eels and Wests Tigers as Bankwest tenants.

South Sydney and Canterbury were also expected to base themselves at their ground, however could return to ANZ Stadium, which now won't be refurbished.

There are also suggestions clubs may want to remain at Bankwest, given the financial appeal of hosting as many corporate boxes as possible.

The Tigers are also scheduled for a home game on July 31, however have avoided a scheduling clash with Sydney FC by pencilling in Leichhardt Oval.

An Eels spokesperson said members and player safety are their main priorities.

"As the anchor tenant we have had games scheduled in the calendar for a number of weeks now so we are keen to ensure that there is no impact on our members as we welcome crowds back this weekend," the spokesperson said.

"We also think it's imperative for the governing bodies and the government to make sure athletes' safety is paramount."

BANKWEST STADIUM SCHEDULE

July

22nd: Western Sydney Wanderers v Melbourne Victory (A-League)

23rd: Parramatta Eels v Wests Tigers (NRL)

25th: Sydney FC v Western United FC (A-League)

26th: Wellington Phoenix v Adelaide United (A-League)

28th: Melbourne Victory v Brisbane Roar (A-League)

30th: Adelaide United v Perth Glory (A-League)

31st: Western Sydney Wanderers v Wellington Phoenix (A-League)

August

2nd: Canterbury Bulldogs v Parramatta Eels (NRL)*

4th: Western Sydney Wanderers v Perth Glory (A-League)

5th: Wellington Phoenix v Brisbane Roar (A-League)

* Tentative