Central Coast Stadium (known originally as Grahame Park) is a sports venue in Gosford, on the Central Coast of New South Wales, Australia. The stadium is home to the Central Coast Mariners association football club which competes in the A-League. The stadium also hosts rugby league and rugby union fixtures on an ad hoc basis as well as other major social events.
The stadium is rectangular and is unusual in that seating is located on only three sides of the ground. The southern end is open giving filtered views of Brisbane Water through a row of palm trees. With an all seater capacity of 20,059 it was as of 2012 the second smallest stadium in the A-League. It is within walking distance of the Gosford CBD and Gosford railway station. The Central Coast Leagues Club and League Club Field are adjacent to the stadium, across Dane Drive.
In 1911, Erina Shire Council proposed to create a park on the shore of Brisbane Water. The park required much land to be reclaimed from marshland. It also required privately owned land to be purchased by council and a section of road to be demolished. Waterside Park was opened in 1915 and a cricket pitch was added during that year. Further reclamation of the foreshore extended the park during the Depression that gave work to the unemployed. By 1939 surplus railway land had been added and a Bowling Club and green as well as tennis courts had been constructed. In 1939 the Park was renamed Grahame Park, after the then mayor of Gosford, William Calman Grahame.
A full stadium was then touted and later built in the late 1990s, planned to be ready in 1999 for NRL club the North Sydney Bears, before construction problems including large spells of inclement weather delayed completion. The stadium finally opened in early 2000 as NorthPower Stadium at Grahame Park, the Northern Eagles National Rugby League team (a merging of the aforementioned Bears and the Manly Sea Eagles) taking residence there until their dissolving at the conclusion of the 2002 season.
In 2003, with no major sporting team in residence, the stadium played host to three group matches in the 2003 Rugby World Cup. The Pacific Islanders rugby union team played one match at the stadium on their 2004 tour.
The stadium gained its second full-time tenant in 2005 with the formation of the Central Coast Mariners, a team in the newly formed national A-League football competition. It became the first full-time national sporting competition to have a team play at the stadium. Further use of the stadium in 2006 follows from it being the home ground to the Central Coast Waves rugby union team, which joined the Shute Shield in 2006.
The stadium continues to host NRL competition matches from time to time, as well as a number of pre-season trials. The Central Coast Rays, the Central Coasts' Australian Rugby Championship team, played out of the stadium during the only season of the competition in 2007. The stadium continued as a home to the Mariners A-League side as of 2007, and hosted NRL matches throughout the 2008 Centenary Year. In 2014, the NSW Country Eagles hosted a National Rugby Championship match at Central Coast.
In recent years the Sydney Roosters have hosted one NRL game per season at Central Coast Stadium; other clubs such as the South Sydney Rabbitohs, Wests Tigers, Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles and Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs have also taken games to the Central Coast. In 2004, Central Coast Stadium played host to two North Queensland Cowboys matches, the first of which resulted in a historic 20-20 draw with wooden spooners South Sydney, the first such result since golden point was introduced in 2003.
There has been several name changes since the Stadium was built, primarily reactions relating to sponsorship:
- Waterside Park, from 1915;
- Grahame Park, from 1939;
- NorthPower Stadium at Grahame Park, from January 2000;
- Central Coast Stadium at Grahame Park, from 23 September 2002;
- Central Coast Express Advocate Stadium at Grahame Park, from 11 February 2003;
- Central Coast Stadium at Grahame Park, from 21 March 2005;
- Central Coast Bluetongue Stadium at Grahame Park, from 28 March 2006.
- Central Coast Stadium at Grahame Park, from 25 January 2014;
Record crowds for different sports:
|Rugby league||16 August 2013|| South Sydney Rabbitohs def. Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles 22–10
2013 NRL season, Round 23
|1 July 2017|| Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks def. Sydney Roosters 44–12
2017 NRL season, Round 17
|Rugby union||27 October 2003||Japan def. United States 26–39||19,653|
|Association football||12 January 2008||Newcastle Jets def. Central Coast Mariners 2–1
A-League 2007-08, Round 20
Rugby league test matches
The stadium has hosted one rugby league international.
|1 November 2008||Scotland def. Fiji 18–16||9,720||2008 Rugby League World Cup Group B|
Rugby World Cup
|Date||Competition||Home team||Away team||Attendance|
|11 October 2003||2003 Rugby World Cup Pool A||Ireland||45||Romania||17||19,123|
|14 October 2003||2003 Rugby World Cup Pool A||Argentina||67||Namibia||14||17,887|
|27 October 2003||2003 Rugby World Cup Pool B||Japan||26||United States||39||19,653|
- "Stadium facts & FAQ's". Central Coast Stadium. Central Coast Council. Retrieved 31 August 2019.
- L. E. Fredman (2006). "Grahame, William Calman (1863–1945)". Australian Dictionary of Biography, Online Edition. Australian National University. Retrieved 30 December 2009.
- Chammas, Michael (23 March 2016). "St George Illawarra Dragons could lose more home games in NSW Government stadium plan". Illawarra Mercury. Retrieved 23 March 2016.
- "Souths, Cowboys share the points". ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation). 16 May 2004. Retrieved 23 March 2016.
- Gosford City Council, Council Meeting, Agenda Report, Naming of Central Coast Stadium (IR 1537310), 26 April 2005 Archived 22 March 2011 at the Wayback Machine (accessed 27 December 2010)
- Gosford City Council, Council Meeting, Late Reports, Application to RenameStadium at Grahame Park (IR 2074468), 28 March 2006 Archived 22 March 2011 at the Wayback Machine (accessed 27 December 2010)
- Central Coast Stadium results @ Rugby League Project