The Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles have plenty going for them on the field. The club has won two premierships in the last four years and are a chance of defending their crown in 2012.
Unfortunately for them, Brookvale Oval is a hell hole that no man should ever have to enter.
After hearing plenty about the venue over the years, I had to stand on the hill myself and see what all the complaining was about. What better night to check it out than last Friday with the defending premiers battling the Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs?
What would make the night even more interesting was the fact that I went to the game with my brother, a huge Manly fan, and a mate who bleeds blue and white.
Getting a park was the first problem. Not such a big deal when you’re used to going to suburban footy grounds.
$25 for a ticket? Pretty good considering some of the other prices around the National Rugby League.
Heading into the ground with about thirty minutes to kickoff, you could feel the atmosphere instantly. Both teams were out on the cow paddock Eagles officials call the playing surface and the place was already packed.
We found a spot up on the hill at the northern end of the ground and quickly turned our attention to getting some beverages.
You would expect officials to know they had a game of footy to host and that the beers would be nice and cold. Instead, patrons across the ground were served warm beer at $6 a pop.
Drinking beer at the footy also means having to commute to the bathroom on a regular basis. I quickly found out that going to the toilet at Brookvale Oval meant walking two hundred metres to the outskirts of the ground. There we found an old toilet block.
Having a cigarette meant exiting the ground completely to a dimply lit area I wouldn’t ask my worst enemy to hang around.
Getting out of the ground? Lets just say we didn’t get home until midnight.
The only thing saving this whole cluster was a wonderful game of footy which the Doggies held on to win.
You have to feel sorry for Manly supporters who live through this every second weekend. They are so used to these atrocious conditions that they don’t know any better.
Eagles fans and visiting fans deserve better. Financially speaking, the big question is, can the Sea Eagles do anything to fix it?