Canberra not only produces some of the greatest athletes in the world, it also has a jam-packed sporting scene and calendar.
Here’s nine sports and a few CBR teams to watch out for over the next 12 months.
Prime Minister’s XI Cricket
- When: February 15th 2017
- Location: Startrack Oval
The Prime Minister’s XI is a distinctly Canberran cricketing tradition. The switch of the fixture to a Twenty20 format will be sure to provide considerable entertainment. The assorted make-up of the Prime Minister’s XI team also allows supporters a glimpse of the next generation of Australian cricketers. This year welcomes the Sri Lankan cricket team, fresh off recent successes against the Australians in the 2016 test series.
- Rugby League
Rugby League World Cup
- When: October 29th, November 3rd,10th 2017
- Location: Canberra Stadium
Kicking off in late October, fourteen nations will descend on Australia, New Zealand and Papua New Guinea in an attempt to claim the most sought after prize in international Rugby League. As part of this, Canberra will host three pool-stage games throughout October and November.
Most notably, Australia will play France in Canberra on Friday 3rd November – allowing a rare chance to see the national team in action. The World Cup presents a thrilling platform to showcase the best Rugby League players in the world. The energy of the Fijian crowd, in particular, is sure to be a highlight as they take on the European qualifiers; Italy, on November 10.
- When: March-September 2017
- Location: GIO Stadium
Still on Rugby League, 2016 witnessed a strong resurgence of the Canberra Raiders. With crowds peaking at over 25,000 people during the finals series, the Raiders games have a markedly unique atmosphere for all spectators – highlighted by the introduction of the famous ‘Viking Clap’.
The games, often played on Saturday and Sunday afternoons, provide affordable family-friendly entertainment. There will be high expectations in Canberra at the start of 2017, as the Raiders attempt to repeat the strong performance of their 2016 season and make it one game further in 2017.
Mercedes-Benz Black Opal Stakes Day
- When: March 5th 2017
- Location: Thoroughbred Park
If team sports aren’t your domain, the Black Opal Stakes Day may be more to your liking. The premier race day in Canberra – now in its 45th year – has grown in prominence to be one of the most important dates on the Autumn racing schedule. The day provides great attractions both on and off the track, with fashion competitions and family events such as face painting for children.
- Rugby Union
- When: March-August 2017
- Location: GIO Stadium
The local rugby union team, the ACT Brumbies, is the region’s proudest sporting entity. The Brumbies are the most successful Australian rugby franchise, and reached the play-offs in 2016. Despite this success, 2017 looms as an intriguing year with the departure of several key players. Needless to say, the Brumbies play an appealing brand of rugby and have a strong following in the Canberra region.
- When: November 2016 – January 2017
- Location: Mckellar Park/GIO Stadium
Two-time W-League champions Canberra United will be looking to build on their run through to the semi-finals in the 2015-16 season and scoop their third W-League title.
Kicking off in early November and running until February, the W-League season is a summer staple with the games providing fun and affordable family entertainment. Canberra United are widely regarded as having one of the most passionate and vibrant fan bases in the league and the atmosphere on game day should not be missed.
- Ice Hockey
- When: April 2017 – September 2017
- Location: Phillip Ice Skating Rink
When the Canberra Knights folded in 2014, few could have predicted the success of their successor, the Canberra Brave. Having just completed their third season in the Australian Ice Hockey League (AIHL) the Brave have reached finals in all three; narrowly missing out on the championship in 2016.
With the club regularly selling 1000 tickets to home games, Brave fans are considered some of the most dynamic in the country. The Brave’s revival of Ice Hockey in Canberra has led to the consideration of a new arena being built in 2017.
University of Canberra Capitals
- When: October 2016 – March 2017
- Location: AIS Arena
Canberra’s most successful sporting team, the Capitals, will be looking to avenge their poor performance in the 2015-16 season by securing their eighth championship under new head coach Paul Goriss, in what has been dubbed a “revival season” for the team.
Capitals games are a high-energy and fun evening out for all of the family to enjoy.
- When: November 2016 – February 2017
- Location: Narrabundah Ball Park
The Canberra Cavalry will be competing in their seventh Australian Baseball League competition, seeking to go one better than their second-place finish last season. The Cavalry will be looking to emulate the success of their 2013 campaign, which saw them crowned ABL Champions as well as becoming the first non-Japanese or Korean side to win the Asia Series.
While the Cavalry’s home, Narrabundah Ball Park (also known as The Fort), is already widely regarded as the best playing surface in Australia, government investment will see a redevelopment of the space to increase capacity and amenities over the next few years.
So if you’re a huge baseball fan, enjoy sports or just want a fun night out, head down to the Narrabundah Ball Park and experience all that the Canberra Cavalry has to offer.
GIANTS male and female
When: Women February – April 2017, Men April – October 2017
Where: StarTrack Oval
The GWS GIANTS, Canberra’s AFL team, will return to StarTrack Oval for at least four games in 2017, keen to go one step further and scoop a spot in their first AFL grand final since the club’s inaugural season in 2012. Canberrans can expect a premier finals clash on Friday 28 April as StarTrack Oval lights up to host its first Friday night match between the GIANTS and the Western Bulldogs. The rise of the GIANTS in 2016 has captured the imagination of the Canberra community, and matches at the iconic Canberra ground are an excellent family day out. The inaugural Women’s Australian Football League will also commence in February 2017 with the GIANTS securing one of eight licenses to have a women’s side compete. StarTrack Oval will play host to the womens team on 18 March with local and national sporting heroes Jess Bibby and Ellie Brush taking the ground to show us their strength, speed and agility.
With an eye to the future, 2017 is shaping up as a blockbuster year for sport in our city. Canberra’s sporting prowess is on show year-round; everywhere you look, and it’s ready to surprise you.