The NRL Grand Final will remain in Sydney for the next two years with the New South Wales Government striking a deal to keep the decider.
League bosses recently entered into a memorandum of understanding to keep the decider in the Harbour City until 2042, assuming the game would be played at ANZ Stadium.
But that deal was thrown into doubt when the State Government delayed a planned refurbishment of ANZ Stadium.
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Work at ANZ was supposed to start at the end of this season was put off until after next year’s State of Origin which will see it out of action until late 2022 at the earliest.
Allianz Stadium is also out action after being knocked down for a total rebuild.
That allowed other States to potentially swoop in and steal the decider with Queensland, Victoria and Western Australia all showing interest.
All three States were apparently prepared to pay big bucks to have the Grand Final played at either Suncorp in Brisbane, the MCG or Optus Stadium in Perth.
But the New South Wales Government has put big bucks on the table to stop the game being hijacked.
Newscorp reports the NRL will receive $10 million to keep the decider in Sydney.
Under the deal, the 2020 and 2021 Grand Finals will be played at the SCG while the 2022 Grand Final will be played at the new Allianz Stadium.
NRL boss Todd Greenberg says the deal recognises the Government’s commitment to having world-class stadia, while also ensuring the game didn’t suffer any financial loss.
“I want to thank the NSW Government for our ongoing partnership. By 2023 the game will have three brand new state-of-the-art rugby league venues to ensure the optimum game day experience for our fans while our bottom line will not be impacted by using alternative Grand Final venues during the construction phase,’’ he said.
“This deal will benefit rugby league fans everywhere because it ensures we can continue to increase investment in grassroots participation right across the country.”
Queensland Tourism Minister Kate Jones says she’s gutted.
“There’s no way that New South Wales could beat us when it comes to the quality of our stadium the quality of our footy fans,” Ms Jones said.
“The only way that Gladys could win today was by pulling out the chequebook.”