Last night’s season finale of The NRL Rookie saw Lou Goodwin from New South Wales secure a 12 month NRL contract, but before the winning jersey was awarded, twenty-eight NRL hopefuls were tested during the TV series which was set against the backdrop of some of Sydney and New South Wales’ best locations from Bondi to the Blue Mountains.
As the NRL capital of Australia, Sydney has been the ideal training ground for the physically-demanding TV show. Matches, challenges and recovery sessions were all played out at some of the city’s most notable football fields, best fitness and workout spots, and destinations primed to inspire recovery and relaxation.
Minister for Trade, Tourism and Major Events and Minister for Sport, Stuart Ayres said, “NSW is the home of Rugby League, and it’s fitting the first season of The NRL Rookie was held in Sydney. The series showcased our state to a huge national and international audience, hosting contestants from right around the world. The Harbour City and Regional NSW have so much to offer all visitors – you don’t need to be a future rugby league star to have a great time here!”
NRL fans will flock to Sydney in October for the NRL Grand Final. To help them plan their trip, Destination NSW has compiled The NRL Rookie’s guide to Sydney, including the Rookies’ home base and where they trained, competed and recovered.
Rookie Headquarters – Coogee Beach, Sydney
The NRL Rookies called one of Sydney’s most iconic beachside suburbs, Coogee, home for the duration of the series. Only 20 minutes from Sydney’s CBD, Coogee is considered a favourite spot for many NRL clubs and Rugby League representative teams with the Crowne Plaza Coogee preferred accommodation for the likes of the NSW State of Origin Blues and the 2015 Kangaroos squad.
A year-round favourite with beach-going Sydneysiders and visitors alike, a visit to Coogee should include a walk along some of the most dramatic Sydney coastline, along the Coogee to Bondi Coastal Walk, as well as a dip at Coogee Beach, or snorkelling at the picturesque Gordon’s Bay.
Rookie Challenges – Parsley Bay Reserve and Cockatoo Island, Sydney
The Rookies’ strength, stamina and drive was tested throughout the series with Sydney’s iconic harbour playing host to two of the most challenging rounds for the NRL hopefuls.
In episode eight, the Rookies took to Parsley Bay Reserve in Sydney’s Eastern Suburbs for a mentally challenging water session. While the up-and-coming players may have found the task tough, visitors will find the crystal clear and calm waters of Parsley Bay a great spot for water-loving sports fans. Take the towels, sunscreen and a picnic lunch and spend the day swimming, paddle boarding and bushwalking.
Across the Harbour, The NRL Rookie’s Captain’s Challenge was held on Cockatoo Island, the Harbour’s largest island and a UNESCO world heritage listed site. Only a short ferry ride from Circular Quay, visitors to Cockatoo Island can take part in walking tours of the Island’s convict sites and ship building history, as well as camp or glamp onsite with some of the best views in Sydney.
Rookie Game Day – ANZ Stadium, Sydney
Sydney is home to some of the most notable Rugby League playing fields in the country from Sydney-based stadiums to local community ovals. Visitors to Sydney can enjoy NRL matches across the city with the Rugby League calendar jam-packed with games every week from March to October each year.
For those travelling to Sydney in October, NRL’s biggest clash, the Grand Final is held at ANZ Stadium at Sydney Olympic Park during the first weekend of the month. Like the NRL Rookies in episode eight, visitors can experience the NRL Grand Final first hand and be blown away by the explosive atmosphere of NRL’s ultimate battle.
Rookie Training and Recovery – Bondi Beach, Sydney
As many Rugby League players before them, the NRL Rookies enjoyed Sydney’s iconic beaches with training and recovery sessions, often completed at Bondi Beach.
Visitors looking for an active visit to Bondi can workout at the world-famous Muscle Beach, Bondi Beach’s sea-front outdoor gym at North Bondi, or try running from Bondi to Bronte. Both offer the ultimate sweat-session while still taking in the very best views that Bondi has to offer.
With so much to see and do, visitors can also relax by spending a few hours wandering the Bondi Beach Promenade, enjoying a coffee and breakfast overlooking the beach at The Bucket List in the Bondi Pavilion, sitting down to lunch atIcebergs Club Bistro or North Bondi Fish, or taking a dip in the famous Bondi waters.
Rookie Downtime – Blue Mountains, Sydney Surrounds North
Capping off The NRL Rookie series, episode nine saw the final Rookies take time out to reflect in one of NSW’s most picturesque locations, the Blue Mountains. While the players took a helicopter to make the journey from Sydney, the scenic drive is only 90 minutes from the heart of the CBD and a popular day-trip for many visitors.
The Blue Mountains offers something for every type of visitor from nature lovers and adventure seekers, to bushwalkers and families, however a visit to Scenic World in Katoomba is a great way to experience it all. With panoramas of the wilderness, waterfalls, valleys and rugged sandstone tablelands taken in by cablecar, or the famous scenic railway, it’s the ultimate way to get the most of the Greater Blue Mountains World Heritage Area, one of Australia’s most spectacular natural parks.
For sports enthusiasts wanting more information on NRL matches or other great sporting events taking place in Sydney, including where to stay, where to purchase tickets and travel packaging information, visit www.sydney.com