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Rugby League to launch Melbourne’s Rectangular Stadium

December 2, 2009
Melbourne's new rectangular stadium at Olympic Park will open with the 2010 ANZAC Test between the Kangaroos and New Zealand.
The match between the Kangaroos and New Zealand on 7th May 2010, will be followed up just two days when the Melbourne Storm take on NRL rivals Brisbane in their first match at their new home.
The new stadium will become an instant rugby league stronghold in its first month of operation, acting as a de factor home base for the Kangaroos, who will play half their home internationals there.
The stadium will also host the bumper Four Nations rugby league clash between Australia and England on 31st October.
The Storm had initially hoped to play their home games against Manly and the New Zealand Warriors at the new venue in rounds six and seven. However, with the stadium completion date pushed back a few weeks, the club will have to make alternative arrangements which could involve playing the matches at Etihad Stadium.
As Storm Chief Executive Brian Waldron explains, "we would love to have opened with them, but in the bigger scheme of things we've waited thirteen years now (for a purpose-built venue), we can wait thirteen-and-a-half!
"It's not in any way detracting from what is going to be a sensational opening.�?
Waldron said once the $267.5 million rectangular stadium was open, the Storm would play all of their future home matches there, including finals.
The new stadium will be the home for the Storm, the Rebels Super 15 rugby team and Melbourne's two A-League clubs.
Rugby League authorities also announced that the opening match of the 2012 State of Origin series would be played in Melbourne, either at the MCG or Etihad Stadium.
Naming rights for the Melbourne and Olympic Parks trust-managed stadium are expected to be announced in the near future.

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