ARL Commission chairman Peter V’landys believes NRL fans will have the best technology and experience if it is granted its wish to refurbish four suburban grounds in Sydney.
V’landys on Monday said the league will seek to leverage its agreement with the NSW government after a decision to abandon an upgrade to ANZ Stadium.
He listed Lottoland, Panthers Stadium and another venue in the south of Sydney – likely to be Netstrata Jubilee Oval – as likely recipients.
Campbelltown Sports Stadium in the city’s south-west is the fourth ground widely tipped to receive an upgrade.
The league is expected to use its deal with the NSW government to stage the grand final for the next 27 years as leverage to uplift suburban grounds.
“Look, we have an agreement with government regarding ANZ Stadium and the stadium policy, so we expect that to be honoured,” V’landys said on 2GB.
“So we need to have discussions with the government.”
V’landys has championed the need for suburban grounds since being appointed ARCL chairman late last year.
He argued that regenerating suburban grounds would benefit local communities.
“Rugby league is about tribalism, it’s about people following their team,” he said.
“By having these boutique stadiums in their local community, it’s only going to be 20,000 people with the best technology (and) the best customer experience.
“It’s also an asset for that local community for other sports and other events, pop concerts, theatre, there’s so many different uses of those facilities.
“But more importantly it keeps the money in that local economy.
“And it’s their stadium.
“So I think having four stadiums – Manly, Penrith and south of Sydney – will be fantastic for NSW.”
NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian said the $810 million previously set aside to upgrade ANZ Stadium will instead form part of a $3 billion fund to create jobs post COVID-19.
Asked about suburban sporting venues, she said: “We know that many organisations will come to us with their requests and we’re going to consider all of them.
ANZ Stadium is likely to re-enter calculations to be used for this year’s NRL grand final, which was pencilled in to be held at the SCG.