After being Canberra Raiders HQ for over 20 years, Bruce Oval will now become a high-performance sporting precinct catering to local and regional grassroots rugby league.
The ACT Government and Canberra Institute of Technology (CIT) will enter a partnership with the New South Wales Rugby League (NSWRL) that will see the elite facility utilised by the Belconnen Sharks senior rugby league club and representative teams from Monaro.
It will also become home to a Disability Trust program for Score Raiders, which teaches participants the skills and fundamentals of touch football.
The Raiders used the Bruce Oval precinct as their headquarters from 1999 until 2020, but as of last season have returned to Braddon Oval, the home of their new high-performance centre.
The Bruce Oval sporting precinct includes a cricket-sized oval, a fully equipped gym, two sets of changerooms, office space and meeting rooms.
Raiders CEO Don Furner and captain Jarrod Croker, NSWRL chief executive David Trodden, and ACT Minister for Sport and Recreation Yvette Berry were on hand for the announcement on 12 February.
“It’s wonderful to see this facility remaining in rugby league and in control of the NSWRL which is a vital part of rugby league in this region,” Furner said.
“This will allow participants of the game at all levels the opportunity to access a high-quality facility.”
Ms Berry said the agreement between CIT and NSWRL is about supporting grassroots sporting teams.
“Bruce Oval will now give local Canberra teams a home ground to play on, while also ensuring teams from regional NSW have access to a high-performance training facility,” she said.
“Canberrans have a great passion for sport – both in participation and as fans. And we’re lucky to be able to be so connected with our elite teams. Particularly for Canberra’s young people to see what they can be, follow their aspirations.”
Trodden said the NSWRL, which is responsible for more than 100,000 registered grassroots Rugby League participants across NSW and ACT, was thrilled with the new partnership.
“It is a great outcome for the local sporting community to be able to have access to sporting facility that was until recently the home of the successful Canberra Raiders NRL team,” Trodden said.
“It ensures people in regional NSW have access to the same standard of high-performance facilities that people in metropolitan Sydney have.”