For my Sports in Australian Society class, we had to attend a rugby match where the Sydney Roosters faced the Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs. We had to take some field notes for an assignment, so I thought I’d share them so you can get an idea of what an Australian rugby match is like!
I was looking out the bus window when all of the sudden, the monstrosity that is Allianz Stadium came into my view. The fans who were also on the bus started fumbling with their belongings, so I knew we were getting off at the next stop. My friends and I followed the sports aficionados, who were adorned in face paint, jerseys, hats, and other decorative signs that showed which team they were supporting. I quickly noticed that there were many more Sydney Roosters fans than Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs fans. There were all types of people at the rugby match—babies and elders, women and men. Despite both teams having lost their previous games, spirits in Allianz Stadium were high. Friends were meeting up, people were taking photos, and voices full of excitement infiltrated the air. Also filling the air was the smell of burgers, fries and donuts, all complementing each other in a very enticing way. We entered the stands and were overwhelmed by the amount of seats there were. We decided to sit about seven rows back from the field because we wanted to get the “up close and personal” experience for our first NRL game. I couldn’t help but notice the condensed pack of Bulldogs fans sitting behind the goal posts. They were noticeable, not only because they were a sea of white and royal blue apparel, but because the leader of their section had a huge steel drum. The CB Bulldogs fans were chanting to the beat of the drum, and seemed to be having a great time. The Rooster mascot was taking pictures with fans in the stands, and there were young rugby fans, acting as ball boys on the field. Soon, the rosters were read on the big screens. I could tell that there were some fan favorites, including Jake Friend and Ryan Matterson, because when their names were read it got increasingly louder in the stadium. I heard some ‘boo’s’ when the Bulldogs roster was read, and this was the first audible sign of competition between the rugby-goers. The game started so abruptly that I missed the kick off. While many fans were zoned into the game, wherever I looked around the stands, there were multiple people taking selfies on Snapchat or texting. This made me wonder whether they came to see the game, or if they came so they could post it on social media. The Sydney Roosters got off to a quick lead, and the fans let the players know that they were proud with many chants and signs held in the air. Whenever a player scored a try, it was apparent that they felt intrinsic enjoyment, made obvious by the huge grin on their faces. The extrinsic reward for their performance was the overwhelmingly positive reaction from the crowd. The players would point to the fans to show their recognition and appreciation. As the fast-paced game went on, I found it difficult to keep up with the rules and plays, but the positive environment was enough to keep me engaged. Blood, sweat and tears were shed throughout the extremely physical game, but ultimately the Roosters came out with the win. The walk back to the busses was filled with laughter and pure joy (SS fieldnotes, 16/3/18).