Sydney risks losing NRL grand final
The iconic NRL grand final could be hijacked from Sydney and sensationally shifted to Brisbane or Melbourne while the Harbour City also faces losing State of Origin games if Labor wins the State election in March.
NSW Opposition leader, Michael Daley's pledge yesterday that if elected his Government would refuse to fund a $730 million demolish and rebuild of Sydney Football Stadium at Moore Park would void an exclusive NRL Memorandum of Understanding with the NSW Government to play grand finals in Sydney for the next 25 years.
Well-placed sources say Queensland and Victoria would "be queuing up" to pinch the famous grand final from Sydney.
The Daily Telegraph understands the SCG Trust funded construction of the original Sydney Football Stadium - also known as Allianz Stadium - at a cost of $68m in 1988.
Sources close to the SCG claim a $730m bill - without Government assistance - would send the Trust broke. Allianz Stadium has been decommissioned since September.
The NRL's Memorandum of Understanding requires new stadiums at Moore Park and Western Sydney along with a major upgrade of Sydney Olympic Park. In return, the NRL earlier this year agreed to play a grand final and State of Origin match in Sydney until 2042.
An angry NRL chief executive CEO Todd Greenberg stressed if Allianz Stadium was not rebuilt, the agreement would be declared invalid.
"In other words, we would have the option to take the grand final to other states," Greenberg said. "We want this stadiums agreement to proceed.
"We have already had strong interest from other states wanting to host the grand final. Our strong preference is to see the new stadiums built and to keep the grand final in NSW but clearly if the MoU is not honoured we have to consider all options."
Premiership deciders in rugby league have been played in Sydney since 1908 - the only exception being the 1997 Super League grand final in Brisbane.
Nick Politis, chairman of the Sydney Roosters, an Allianz Stadium tenant, said Daley was simply echoing the sentiments of his dumped predecessor, Luke Foley. "What's new? What's changed?," Politis said.