An NRL grand final in Sydney in 2020 is not ‘up in the air’ according to Peter V’landys, who remains in discussions with the NSW government over the abandoned stadiums agreement.
Despite calls from north of the border to move the NRL’s showpiece event to Brisbane’s Suncorp Stadium for the first time on October 25, the ARLC chairman is confident an agreement will be reached to keep the grand final in Sydney.
He is seeking to leverage the NRL’s deal with the NSW government to keep the grand final in Sydney for the next 27 years as planned in exchange for refurbishments to suburban grounds.
It comes after the government abandoned $810 million plans to upgrade ANZ Stadium to redirect money towards a $3 billion fund to create jobs post COVID-19.
When asked on Thursday if a Sydney grand final is doubt, V’landys told 2GB radio: “It’s not up in the air because we’ve got confidence in the NSW Government.
“They’ve got an agreement with us, I’m sure they’ll honour that agreement and we look forward to discussing it with them in the next week or so.”
The 2020 and 2021 grand finals were originally slated to be played at the Sydney Cricket Ground but they could be relocated to ANZ Stadium, where it has been staged for the past 21 years.
Should an agreement with the NSW government fall through, V’landys said it would allow the NRL to explore other options.
“The agreement at the moment doesn’t stand because it’s not being honoured in some respects,” he said.
“We might see money diverted into the community into suburban grounds.”
The original agreement was to keep the NRL grand final in Sydney for the next 27 years with ANZ Stadium and Allianz Stadium to be rebuilt.
However, since ANZ Stadium upgrade was shelved, the league hopes to redirect funds towards four boutique Sydney stadiums to house between 15,000 to 20,000 fans.
The most likely candidates are Brookvale, Panthers Stadium and another venue in the south of Sydney.
Campbelltown Sports Stadium in Sydney’s south-west is the fourth ground widely tipped to receive an upgrade, using the success of Bankwest Stadium as a guide.