With their NRLW side set to debut in 2023, Canberra Raiders chief executive Don Furner has called for an upgrade to the club’s “embarrassing” stadium facilities before they take the field.
According to AAP, Furner says the current situation at GIO Stadium is so bad, NRLW players would be forced to get changed outside the stadium if multiple grades are played on one day and the women’s team is in action.
Furner’s calls reportedly come amid a long spell of inaction from governments regarding an upgrade to current facilities or a new development in the nation’s capital.
“It’s going to be embarrassing,” Furner said.
“Opposition NRLW teams will see it, they’ll have to get changed outside the ground. They’ll see the changing room facilities at other stadia and that will make it harder for us to sign players.”
But it’s not just the NRLW team’s impending arrival that has the Raiders demanding development, with the current GIO Stadium configuration leaving punters far more exposed to weather conditions than most other arenas.
“It’s a tough ask sitting in those conditions, we’re playing in a very inferior stadium,” Furner continued.
“It only has about 15 per cent of those seats are undercover, we’re asking people to pay money to sit out in the rain.”
“The government can’t keep asking the people of Canberra to go out and support their two most high-profile sporting teams in a stadium that’s vastly inferior to the rest of the competition.
“Our fans sit through the toughest conditions in the NRL – we’ve got the coldest stadium without cover.”
Furner’s plea comes as the NRL and Peter V’Landys have made decisions about the immediate future of the NRL Grand Final but also amidst the ongoing uncertainty over upgrades to a number of New South Wales suburban stadia.
Within the last 24 hours V’Landys has insisted that the NSW Government must follow through with the development of a new stadium in Penrith, and also advised them that the NRL Grand Final’s commitment to Sydney is temporary at best, pending future decisions.