IT’S A TRY – Bledisloe Cup at the G in Melbourne
The anticipation of a weekend in Melbourne was even more heightened knowing that I was attending a rugby match in AFL territory. Who would have thought a rugby game played south of the border?
And not just any match but an international between Australia’s own green and gold of the Wallabies against long time fierce opponents of the game; the black and white of New Zealand All Blacks.
Bring it on!
The Bledisloe Cup is fought over annually between these two rugby nations and usually played in the more rugby–based cities of Brisbane or Sydney. This year Melbourne has the honour of being the host of one of the games, and I was lucky enough to attend. Read on for my experience of The Bledisloe Cup…
This exciting game is played at the hallowed Melbourne Cricket Ground, the MCG, or just the G, as the Victorians affectionately know it by. The Melbourne Cricket Ground was established in 1853 and has capacity of 100,024. There is even an MCG behind the scenes tour. (which I will do next time!)
I arrived at Sydney Airport ready for a quick one–hour Qantas flight south to the sports capital of the nation, sharing the flight with fellow rugby fans joining in the build-up to the game kicking off later in the day.
Arriving at Melbourne there was no time to waste, I had arranged a limo to pick me up in style which took me in comfort to the hotel of choice,The Windsor Hotel established in 1883; the grand dame of hotels in Melbourne. The Windsor is ideally located at the top end of town opposite the handsome Victorian Parliament Building formerly the Australian Parliament Building. The hotel has been restored to its former glory with stylish rooms and mouth-watering afternoon tea. Downstairs in the ‘Cricketers Bar’ sports fans gather to discuss the games – whether it’s cricket or football and where I meet my Victorian friends, normally out to support their AFL teams but being in Melbourne, they will make a day of any sport.
Time for lunch and around the corner is Pellegrini’s; a Melbourne institution since 1954, for the most famous pasta in Melbourne; where diners sit perched at the counter European style. The food is delicious and a hearty start to the day. The atmosphere is fun with lots of friendly banter between the staff and the patrons.
Then it’s off to the G, the Melbourne Cricket Ground is close by, part of the huge sporting precinct catering for many sports at several massive stadiums. The sporting arenas are well located – walking distance from the CBD, and off we march with the mass of many generations dressed in colours of their country; like hundreds of determined ants with the crowd becoming larger and louder adding to the excitement. We arrive 15 minutes later, and I am in awe of the stadium – a modern day Colosseum. Truly amazing.
The atmosphere is electric with the thousands of fans creating this all mighty roar as their teams take to the field and the Kiwis raise the noise to almost deafening as the All Blacks perform the obligatory Haka. Let the game begin.
The next 90 minutes is a match of incredible determination between the great teams and the crowd is totally caught up in all the spectacle right to the final whistle. I can’t believe I’m watching this iconic game at this iconic stadium.
The final score Australia 24– New Zealand 16. The Wallabies fans go wild beating the New Zealanders who are now rather quiet. Meanwhile my local Victorian friends wondered what that was all about and discuss next week’s match when the Pies take on the Tigers at the G.
We all head to Melbourne’s oldest pub, The Duke of Wellington. The Duke is the start of another chapter. Let the night begin...
As you can tell, you don’t need to be a Melbournian to experience sporting at its best. If you’re wanting to travel to Melbourne to see some thrilling sporting games, Emma Whiting Travel can look after you.