Footy fans erupt over contentious move at iconic Sydney ground

The famous footy ground is home to the tallest goalposts in the Southern Hemisphere.

Pictured left are the unmistakable goalposts at the Concord Oval footy ground in Sydney.
The unmistakable goalposts at the iconic Concord Oval footy ground in Sydney hold a special place in the hearts of Wests Tigers premiership greats Robbie Farah and Benji Marshall. Pic: Twitter/Getty

Goalposts considered the tallest in the Southern Hemisphere and used by a premiership-winning NRL club and rugby's elite at the first World Cup are to be replaced despite a desperate campaign to retain them for historical value. Canada Bay Council in Sydney's inner west has confirmed Concord Oval's famous 24m steel uprights will be removed following concerns over their worsening condition.

The ground played host to five games in the inaugural rugby World Cup in 1987, staging the pool match between Australia and England and the memorable Wallabies-France semi-final. The NSW Waratahs also used Concord as their training base for a number of years.

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Three NRL games were played at the venue in the 1990s before the joint venture Wests Tigers moved in, plotting their 2005 premiership victory over the Cowboys from inside Concord's modest confines on busy Parramatta Rd. Fullback Brett Hodgson, who kicked five from five conversions on grand final day, used the giant posts as practice targets, as did Benji Marshall in countless field goal drills.

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The Tigers are still based at Concord Oval, which has undergone an $85m redevelopment and bears little resemblance to the previous structure, with the giant posts the only real reminder of the past. The NRL club shares its facilities with Shute Shield club rugby outfit, the West Harbour Pirates.

Seen here, Wests Tigers NRL players training on Concord Oval.
Concord Oval is the Wests Tigers' NRL training base and the home ground for Sydney club rugby side, the West Harbour Pirates. Pic: Getty

Fan backlash over plans to change Concord Oval

An online "Save our Posts" petition has been set-up in an attempt to keep the posts intact, with close to 400 signatures captured in just two days. "This isn't just historical for West Harbour; this is a valuable part of Australian Rugby Union history, and it should be maintained and protected for future generations," one fan wrote.

Another added: "This is a disgrace! How can they even contemplate taking those famous sticks down." But despite the fan protest, it appears the last post will soon be blown on the big posts.

"Following a condition assessment, the goal posts Concord Oval have been deemed to be unsafe due to rust and deterioration and require removal," a Canada Bay Council spokesperson told Yahoo Sport Australia. "Council has consulted with all Concord Oval stakeholders including the Wests Tigers, West Harbour Rugby, the ARU and NSW Rugby.

"Whilst Council and stakeholders recognise the significance of the goal posts, all understand the need for removal. New goal posts will be installed by end of the calendar year."

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