“Hey, you wanna do a road trip to Sydney for the game this weekend?”When Brisbane Roar advanced to a semi final elimination game against Western Sydney Wanderers, I didn’t necessarily think to make plans to go to the game. After all, we had only just been to Melbourne for the final game of the regular season a fortnight ago. But when my buddy Luke suggested we do a road trip in a camper van and take the opportunity to see our beloved Brisbane Roar play in front of a sell-out crowd at Pirtek Stadium, I thought ‘why the hell not?’
I booked the last four tickets available in the Away Supporters Bay (it was meant to be) and after a bit of digging around for accommodation and transportation, we were sorted.
The trip to Sydney takes roughly ten hours and takes you through Coffs Harbour, Port Macquarie and Newcastle. We did four hours the first night and stayed in Coffs. Then up again at the crack of dawn and hit the road again.
The van we hired was a rusty old piece of junk. It made a rattling noise when you drove it, had a cassette tape deck and the interior was worn and musty. I guess you could say it had character.
The weather was pretty miserable for most of the way down. Fortunately, it cleared up for the game itself.
During some of the longer stretches on the road between cities, you could put your feet up and have a kip.
Picturesque Coffs Harbour. Unfortunately, no time to hang around. I would love to come back here some day.
Pre-game drinks were held at Commercial Hotel in Parramatta. There was a couple of hundred Roar supporters there in good voice and high spirits.
Our last good photo before the nerves set it in.
Pirtek Stadium is the envy of many A-League clubs and supporters. Seating 20,000, it is the perfect sized venue for A-League football. There were a few quirks I had to get used to however. The queue to get into the stadium was super slow compared to Suncorp Stadium and the drinks service was also crazy slow.
Having said that, Pirtek is a fantastic stadium where it counts. The compact venue generates a wonderful atmosphere and our bay had plenty of banter with the Wanderers supporters seated on either side of us.
On another good note – I found the locals to be very friendly and helpful. We had some great conversations with Wanderers fans before and after the game. Everyone was super friendly and although the Wanderers supporters have a notorious reputation in the Murdoch tabloids, I felt completely at ease in their company.
The trip was worth every penny as we watched a classic, crazy A-League finals game. A nine goal thriller with momentum swinging back and forth before Brisbane Roar alumni Dario Vidosic finally put the game to bed in extra time for the Wanderers. But I didn’t really care. I enjoyed every minute soaking up the atmosphere at the game and its been another incredible season full of drama.
This photo is pretty cool as you can see Jen in the back row proudly holding up her Roar scarf. We came to Pirtek, our team put up a great challenge and we made a hell of a lot of noise. It’ll probably take another day or two for my voice to full recover.