Sunday 30 April 2023

Ground #383 - Dolphin Stadium

Date: 8th April 2023
Ground: Dolphin Stadium
Location: Moreton Bay, Queensland, Australia

My eighth new ground of 2023 was on Saturday 8th April at Dolphin Stadium in Moreton Bay, Queensland, Australia. The game was Brisbane Roar vs. Newcastle Jets in the Australian A-League.

Dolphin Stadium is located 20 miles north-east of the centre of Brisbane in the Moreton Bay area. Just over a mile from the beach the venue is part of a large sports complex containing football, rugby and softball pitches with the ground's only other neighbour being a supermarket to the east. The venue is just over a mile east of Kippa-Ring Station which opened in 2016 as the new terminus of Queensland Rail's Redcliffe Peninsula Line. Dolphin Stadium itself opened in 1979 as a rugby venue with the football team starting to play matches there in 2019. The club split their time between Dolphin Stadium and the much larger 52,000 seater Suncorp Stadium in the centre of Brisbane.

The ground was a very basic venue up until 2015 when work began to build a number of new stands. The largest of these, the Des Webb Stand, takes up the western side of the ground. The 4,000 seat stand has seating split into two levels with the roof covering the bulk of the seating in the back half. The two ends of the stand do however jut out beyond the roof so a fair amount of it is uncovered. The dugouts are positioned at the front of the stand and there are food and drink areas at either end of the stand with the north-west corner also having a small merchandise outlet and ticket office as well.

The East Stand opposite is a smaller uncovered stand with a club building at the back and the player's tunnel at the bottom. In a similar fashion to the West Stand the East has the seating split into upper and lower sections. This approach also applies to the North Stand behind the goal although in this one the upper deck is much larger than the lower. The southern end does not have a stand as it backs onto the Dolphins building. This building contains function areas and a sports bar and does have an upper level with three balconies which extend out towards the pitch giving a good view of play. It is an unusual set-up but caters for the hospitality crowd. This additional area tips the capacity up to the 10,000 mark which is sufficient for the kind of crowds the venue draws.

Brisbane came into the game at the foot of the 12-team league but with a very tightly packed table they were only six points off the top half and the play-offs. Newcastle were three points of the play-offs in 8th so keen to grab three points against a Roar side who had won their previous two at home. The first chance of the game came after just 35 seconds when a curling shot by Henry Hore went just wide for the hosts. The visitors had an effort themselves in the sixth minute with a curling shot from 15 yards ending up just over the bar. The Roar were on top though and were a whisker away in the 28th minute as a cross from Kai Trewin was headed over the roof of the net by Stefan Scepovic. Six minute later Trewin was involved again as he found Henry Hore on the edge of the box. Hore turned quickly and shot low into the bottom corner from 18 yards to put his side a goal to the good at the break. Into the second half and the hosts continued their dominance - a couple of minutes after the restart Scott Neville ran at goal and stung the palms of Newcastle keeper Michael Weier with a strong drive from the edge of the box. In the 62nd minute Jordan Courtney-Perkins dragged a shot wide from inside the six yard box but a few minutes later came a key moment in proceedings. Henry Hore went down in the box rather dramatically - though there didn't seem to be much in it VAR intervened and after a review a spot kick was given. Jay O'Shea dispatched the penalty low into the corner sending Weier the wrong way. The visitor's best chance of the half came with ten minutes to go when a 25-yard dipper from Dane Ingham landed on the roof of the net. But the Roar came back in the final minutes and had multiple opportunities in and around the 90th minute. The danger was coming down the left wing and after two missed chances Brisbane grabbed a third goal in the 93rd minute. It was a scrappy one with Carlo Armiento's cross into the six-yard box resulting in a collision between Brisbane's Stefan Scepovic, Newcastle keeper Weier and defender Matthew Jurman. Scepovic was the quickest to react as the ball spilled and he poked the ball across the line whilst on the floor to wrap up a comfortable victory for Brisbane. The three points moved them up four places in the congested table leapfrogging a disappointing Newcastle in the process.

Result: Brisbane Roar 3-0 Newcastle Jets
Division: Australian A-League
Attendance: 3,911

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