Brought to you by Nuffnang and Melbourne Rising
I must admit that I am not well versed in sport. I come from a soccer family and that was about the extent of my interest in things involving organised running with a ball until coming to Australia. There is such a culture of activity here that on any given night there will be something played somewhere to a crowd of happy fans. As my kids are growing up here, we are fast becoming part of the chorus of cheering crowds, adding new sports to our repertoire often!
This was our first time heading to anything Rugby Union related. In fact, up until I started reading about the game in preparation of being guests of Melbourne Rising, I had no idea there were so many clubs and competitions! I still don’t understand the rules/laws and types enough to explain it here, but what I can say is that it was an excellent family night out. Have a little look at the images from our time with Melbourne Rising and then read on for my thoughts.
We started with a tour behind the scenes at AAMI Park where the home games for the Melbourne Rising happen. It is a gorgeous stadium that is also home to the Melbourne Rebels, the Rugby Union team that the Rising feeds into. We had a look at all the rooms from the drug testing to the medical bay (only two beds, I was expecting an entire ward for Rugby!) There is a huge swimming pool for recovery and workouts plus a MASSIVE gym with more weights than I have ever seen in my life. After meeting the gentle giants who play the game of Rugby, I could see why they were needed. These men are running around on muscle bound legs the size of tree trunks.
Gemma had the honour of tossing the game coin and both captains plus the head referee were so kind to her. She was a bit nervous, but they came out and offered her hand shakes and genuine smiles. The toss went in favour of our Melbourne Rising, so with that and the fact that they are on top of the leader board, we were feeling like it was going to be (to quote the Black Eyed Peas) a good, good night.
The kids loved being able to be on the ground with the teams as they warmed up before the game. Kieran was simply in awe. Clover brought her pink purse to hold the essentials, her phone camera and pink puppy. She was the cutest paparazzi there. Despite being a Thursday night and a team we had not heard much about before this week, the seats began to fill up (nearly 2,000 spectators was the final count!) so we left the ground to get our spots.
I was worried that the game might be too rough for a family sport or that the crowd would be a bit rowdy, but I was wrong on both counts. Despite power and size, the game is played in a very sportsmen-like manner and the fans were just happy to be there. The ref took a bit of flack from some enthusiastic Canberra fans, but not a bad word was uttered. Lots of kids were there and my three were enthralled. There were fireworks and cheerleaders. Something for everyone! Halftime saw audience members brought out onto the field for a kick of the ball to win merchandise and there were lots of other times the fans were involved. Players even came up to the sidelines to take selfies with the crowd.
I am still trying to figure out why Rugby players bunch up and hug like a giant spider (scrum) at certain points, but I think with a little more reading, I will understand the rules/laws. The price point is great for a family of five (kids under 12 were free at least for that game) (Under 12’s are always free for home games excluding Finals) so I can see us attending more matches in the future. I will remember to bring food though…not much on hand for vegetarians except very expensive french fries!
In Melbourne and keen to see a Rising match for yourself? I have tickets to the next home game to give away! (1 x double pass to the Melbourne Rising game on 6pm Sat 18 October at AAMI Park against Queensland Country)
In the comments, just let me know your best description of a scrum and why it happens!
Contest ends Monday the 6th of October! Click here for T&C