Australia’s first all-weather synthetic rugby league field is to be built by Blacktown City Council, with the support of the National Rugby League.
The $6-million project – at Kellyville Ridge Reserve – is a partnership between Blacktown City Council ($5.4 million) and the National Rugby League ($600,000).
Construction is scheduled to begin in February 2017 and the new field will be opened before the 2018 season, the Mayor of Blacktown City, Councillor Stephen Bali said.
"Blacktown is the sporting city, and Blacktown City Council has the capacity to make international grade sporting facilities available to the residents of Western Sydney," Mayor Bali said.
"This year, we began a three year, $16 million plan to improve our sporting facilities.
"We are the first council in NSW to place a defibrillator in every one of its sporting venues.
"At the moment, more than 157 new sporting facilities are currently being planned and delivered by Council.
"Blacktown City Council thanks the NRL for their enthusiastic support for the project and we look forward to seeing an expansion of the game through the use of this facility."
National Rugby League Head of Football Brian Canavan said the field would be a hub for rugby league in Western Sydney.
"This is another significant investment by our game to ensure that we continue to support the growth and participation of Rugby League throughout Western Sydney," Mr Canavan said.
"I congratulate and thank the Blacktown City Council and Mayor for their significant investment in the field and I look forward to the facility taking shape, with completion in time for on-field play in 2018."
Penrith Panthers General Manager Phil Gould AM said the synthetic field would be a tremendous boost for the sporting code in the region.
"Congratulations to the Blacktown Council and the NRL representatives who have worked so hard to make this wonderful facility possible," he said.
"This innovative synthetic playing field will provide tremendous benefits to the local community.
"We are delighted to have this revolutionary playing field in the Penrith District Junior Rugby League area."
Blacktown City Council has also been congratulated by a leading sporting facilities consultant.
"Blacktown City Council continues to demonstrate its commitment to sport in their city with this investment into Australia’s first dedicated synthetic rugby league field," said Martin Sheppard Managing Director of Smart Connection Company.
"They are investing in the future generations by appreciating the growing demand in their municipality and also planning for future increases by providing opportunities for children, girls and women and adults with more playing hours on this field.
"Synthetic sports fields allow for three times the play that even the most advanced natural grass fields."
The fully floodlit playing facility includes an amenities building which incorporates a canteen, administration area, club room, change rooms, referees rooms, a medical room, toilets and storage.
"The local community also gets a benefit," Mayor Bali said.
"There will also be a ‘real’ grassed ‘mini field’ that will have a fitness-based play space and the landscaping of the entire reserve will be significantly improved," he said.
This article first appeared on nrl.com