The horror among Wests Tigers, Penrith Panthers, Canterbury Dogs and Parramatta Eels fans when they read the sporting section of the Sun Herald this morning would be enough to make Julia Gillard think that the Opposition Leader was more unpopular than her.
Other political heavyweights in attendance included the NSW Treasurer, Mike Baird, the state Minister for Planning, Brad Hazzard, and Liberal MP Bronwyn Bishop. The NSW government's stadiums strategy has outlined plans to shift funding away from suburban grounds and towards major venues such as ANZ Stadium and Allianz Stadium. However Abbott raised hopes that one of the NRL's most dilapidated grounds, Brookvale Oval, could finally get the money required to bring it up to standard.
''I am confident that [Manly] will be doing well come September and I hope you aren't the only ones in this room doing well come September,'' Abbott told guests in the Chairman's Lounge, in reference to the coming federal election. ''Opposition is OK but government is better. Opposition is about promising, government is about delivering. I hope I will be in a position to deliver to this club, to this code and to this stadium come September. I look forward to working with my friends and colleagues, the state Treasurer Mike Baird and the state Minister for Planning, Brad Hazzard.
If we've got the planning right, if we've got the finances right then we can deliver. And I've got my coach Bronwyn Bishop to make sure I perform on and off the field.'' Former Senate president Kerry Sibraa is heading a Brookvale Oval Committee tasked with finding ways to salvage the historic ground. ''It was great to see Tony there and other respected politicians,'' Sea Eagles general manager David Perry said. ''It was positive what he said in regards to the future of Brookvale Oval.''