Blackaddder happy with more 'neutral' stadium
July 31, 2014
Blackadder says he would never give up the fortress of AMI Stadium for more money © Getty Images
Move his Crusaders home final to a more neutral stadium? Coach Todd Blackadder wouldn't even think it. So for the Waratahs to move their first ever home final from their fortress at the Sydney Football Stadium to ANZ Stadium in Homebush for the almighty dollar has Blackadder flummoxed.
''There is no way I would ever give-up home advantage to anyone,'' Blackadder told Fairfax Media. ''This could only be the accountants and not so much the players [making the decision]. I don't think it will make a difference to them; no-one is going to be hamstrung by it. But for us it is just the psychological aspect of going to a neutral stadium is just fantastic.''
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Rather than play Saturday night's must-anticipated final at the SFS, where the Waratahs have been unbeaten all season, the Waratahs have agreed to move to the more neutral and much bigger ANZ Stadium at Olympic Park. Although they have won their two matches at this venue as well this season and have won six of their 10 games at the venue, Blackadder still believes the Crusaders will benefit from the move, calling it a more "neutral venue".
''I'm pleased we are playing there and not the other stadium where they have had so much success,'' he added. ''It almost feels like it is a neutral venue for us.''
Moving venues, Blackadder believes the players are sacrificing their familiarity to their home ground in order to earn more dollars and Crusaders midfielder Ryan Crotty also weighed into the debate, backing Blackadder's comments.
''Yeah it's a wee bit weird. I know we wouldn't be taking ours away from AMI. That's interesting, it doesn't change [things] for us. We still have a job to do when we get over there.''
Flying into Sydney on Wednesday, the Crusaders chose to stay at the Homebush venue, an area not renowned for its nightlife, rather than stay in the city centre, with Blackadder preferring the venue because of reduced travel and the short distance to training facilities, and citing lessons learned from their failed 2011 Super Rugby final in Brisbane when they stayed in the city centre.
''What we learned from 2011 is that we actually need to get out and get fresh air. We were cooped-up in the hotel, there was no natural sunlight, no fresh air. It just didn't serve us well; we almost felt lethargic and went into the game lethargic."
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