• Making The Greatest Things Happen


Making the greatest things happen . . . the current ANZ Stadium permanent team with casual staff members who have been with the Stadium since 1999. Picture: Mark & Jenny Evans

Arthur Stanley

IT’S the people who make the difference – and the Stadium has been fortunate to have a team of dedicated, skilful people who have gone above and beyond to deliver a dynamic schedule of events each year since 1999.

Eighteen members of the permanent team and 45 casual employees have been part of the Stadium journey since the start. We call these long-term staffers “the 99ers”. The Stadium employs more than 100 fulltime staff members and approximately 1800 casual workers. The venue would not function on event days without this trained casual team.

The 99ers . . . the pioneer team of permanent and casual employees who have been with the Stadium since its opening in March 1999 *some staff members unavailable for photo. 

ANZ Stadium CEO Daryl Kerry is among the core group of pioneer staff after joining the Stadium in 1998 as Operations Manager nine months before construction of the Stadium was completed.

“I would like to thank our wonderful staff, who really have made the greatest things happen over almost 20 years,” says Daryl.

“Attitudes are contagious and our team has always had a can-do attitude.

“It’s a credit to our staff that Sydney can roll out major Stadium events almost seamlessly. Of course, that’s not to say things sometimes don’t go wrong. In our business, a pat on the back is only a few vertebrae removed from a kick in the pants. But our staff has done us proud over 20 years.”

From 1999 to 2019 . . . staff members from the 1999 permanent team who are still with the Stadium in a full time capacity today.

Tim Brady, now Senior Manager Venue Operations, recalls duelling emotions of excitement and trepidation going in to that first event in 1999, when an NRL Double-Header attracting 104,583 fans was hardly what you’d call a routine test event for the Olympic Stadium.

“I remember a few members of staff pulling all-nighters going in to that first event . . . there was just so much to do in so little time,” says Tim.

“As a team, we did not have much time to get familiar with our working environment. There was a lot of work to do in terms of acquiring knowledge of the building and its operations.

“Remember, this was the first ever event at the Olympic Stadium, and it had never been tested under any sort of load, and here we were expecting upwards of 100,000 spectators.

“As we got closer to the event, seats in the upper Northern and Southern Wings (temporary stands in place for the Olympics) were released by the NRL for as little as $5, with organisers keen to leverage the Stadium’s Olympic capacity and with so many people wanting to attend the Stadium to see it for the first time.

“This caused some anxiety in the realm of transport as it also ensured that Sydney trains and buses had their first big test under load ahead of the 2000 Olympics.”

Casual workforce . . . members of the 1999 team who are still with the Stadium in a casual capacity today.

Stadium staff worked tirelessly throughout the day as the fans flooded in, with unprecedented demand for food and beverages. Like the 104,583 fans, there were hundreds of staff members seeing the Stadium for the first time, without the luxury of time to get familiar with their working environment.

“As with any new stadium there were a lot of gremlins in the system, but to the great credit of the crew, the night was hailed a monumental success,” says Tim.

“Going in to that first event the stakes were high, and the pressure was immense. The eyes of the State were upon us and no one wanted to let the team down.

“Given the all-encompassing nature of the job at hand, I had made a conscious personal decision not to have a drop of alcohol for three months.

“At the end of that historic first night, I drank six beers in about 30 minutes flat . . . there was just a huge amount of relief among the staff that we could get the job done.

“It should be noted that I got a lift home that evening.”

Team work . . . the current ANZ Stadium permanent team.
Feeding fans since 1999 . . . the senior ANZ Stadium kitchen team.
  • Sydney’s Olympic Stadium is turning 20 early next year. This is the second in a series of stories on the Stadium, its people, the famous events, and the fans who have brought the colour, energy and excitement over two decades of sport and entertainment.