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Oval is now classy Oki

Published: Thursday 27th April 2006  |  More News

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"Old Kogarah Oval" has been spruced up nicely in advance of its first NRL game this season.

Former St.George stars such as Johnny Raper, Reg Gasnier, Billy Smith and Graeme Langlands will hardly recognise their playing "home" when St.George Illawarra hosts the Parramatta Eels, at what is now Oki Jubilee Stadium.

New lights, new seats, new grass and better facilities...for more fans. Sydney's drought like conditions have allowed workmen to complete most of the renovations - part of the stage two work funded by the $8 million Federal Government grant - in plenty of time.

When the Leader visited the ground yesterday all major renovations had been completed, with most remaining work centred around finishing the final bank of new tiered seating, toilet and catering facilities and a new third ground entrance.

"We've been lucky with the weather, so I'm confident all the last work will be finished before the (round 13) Parramatta game," project manager Frank Bates said.

New terraced seating and a raised section of the large hill means that Oki's ground capacity will swell to around 19,000 - up about 2,000 on last year when some spectators had to be turned away.

The hill, ploughed with new kikiyu grass, has been raised between 750mm and 1500mm in sections, while a new operations complex under the scoreboard will house additional catering facilities.

An alcohol-free Family Hill section will be fenced off at the southern end, with a jumping castle and re-established food and drink outlets.

But the most striking additions are the new tiered seating and huge light towers. Individual tilt seats fill both the new tiered terraces at the north- western end and around the lower concourse perimeter.

No bench seats are left. All up there are 6,235 replacement and new seats, including seats for the disabled and carers - double the number since stage two work began.

The third ground entrance (Gate C) off English Street should provide easier access for the disabled and families with strollers to the Hill and reserve tiered seating.

The new stadium lights, erected before Christmas, are some of the most technically advanced in Australia and will facilitate high definition television coverage.

Kogarah based fans who have had to travel to Wollongong to cheer on the red and whites, should be pleasantly surprised when the gates of Oki Stadium open for the first of five 2006 games.

 

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