Glimmer of hope for Queensland grand final
QUEENSLAND'S hopes of snagging an NRL grand final have been boosted after a stunning admission by the NSW Government over its stadium upgrades.
As NSW plans major redevelopments at its two major football stadiums, the 2020 NRL grand final has been earmarked for the Sydney Cricket Ground - much to the angst of rugby league fans on both sides of the Tweed River.
It's now looking increasingly likely the upgrades will not be finished by 2021, paving the way for a Queensland bid to host that year's match at Suncorp Stadium.
That push gained momentum after the NSW Government last night confirmed that there was still no timeline for the redevelopment of Stadium Australia (also known as ANZ Stadium) - the long-term home of the NRL grand final.
The $810 million revamp was left out of next year's NSW budget papers, while there is no completion date for the smaller Sydney Football Stadium either.
NSW Treasurer Dominic Perrottet has insisted the Government remains committed to the stadiums project, which helped secure NRL grand final hosting rights for the Harbour City until 2042.
But Queensland Tourism Minister Kate Jones said that the dithering was another sign that the game should head to Suncorp, widely regarded as one of the world's premier football stadiums.
"NSW can't tell footy fans when the ANZ Stadium redevelopment is going to start, let alone finish," she said.
"Clearly, the game should come to Queensland where we can guarantee a great spectacle for footy fans and a great financial return for the NRL."
A NSW Government spokesman said the project would still go ahead, but could not give any details of when it would start or finish.
"There has been no change to the NSW Government's commitment to refurbish Stadium Australia at Sydney Olympic Park, and deliver a world-class venue for the people of NSW," the spokesman said.
"$810 million is reserved for this project once the final business case and planning is completed (and) the business case will determine the project timeline."
A spokesman for the NRL said they expected the project to proceed as planned.