NRL still in talks on grand final venue

The NRL will wait until later in the week to make a call on which stadium will host the grand final as talks continue with the Queensland government about a possible shift.

The ARL Commission met again on Tuesday morning to discuss the October 2 decider, with a decision deferred again by a few days.

Negotiations are continuing with both the NSW and Queensland governments, after the announcement two weeks ago that Sydney’s suburban grounds would not be upgraded.

“The commission has deferred the decision but it will be made by the end of this week,” ARL Commission chair Peter V’landys told AAP on Tuesday.

“We’re in good discussions with both the NSW and Queensland government. 

“We’ll go through all the information and all the details, and then we’ll make a decision.

“It’s a big deal for us, and it’s commercially one of our big-ticket items.”

The NRL had initially hoped to make a decision early last week on the venue, before recommencing talks with the NSW government.

It was believed that NSW remained favourite to host rugby league’s showpiece event given the 82,500-seat capacity of Accor Stadium.

But there is a thought a better commercial return is possible in Queensland through food and beverage deals, stadium hire and the overall push from the state government.

The league had initially struck a deal with the NSW government in 2018 to keep the grand final in Sydney until 2042.

However that was contingent on an $800 million upgrade of Accor Stadium, which was pushed back due to the pandemic.

The NRL claims a verbal agreement was then reached that the money would be decreased and redistributed to suburban grounds, with $300 million to be spent on Penrith’ stadium and upgrades elsewhere.

However the league was left furious when told a fortnight ago the money for other grounds was no longer a priority, with Brookvale, Leichhardt and Cronulla’s Pointsbet Stadium all going without.

V’landys has met with new sports minister Alister Henskens since Stuart Ayres’ recent resignation from the position, and remains hopeful a deal can be reached on stadiums.

“I am (still hopeful of a compromise),” V’landys said.

“We have been impressed with the new sports minister Alister Henskens. Even if we get nowhere, the good thing about him is he knows the detail.”

V’landys comments came as NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet insisted a resolution was close to being reached that would see the grand final stay in Sydney.

“The grand final is an institution in our state. That’s where it should remain,” he said. 

“It shouldn’t go to Queensland, it should be in NSW. It’s where the majority of the clubs are. 

“It’s the heart-and-soul of rugby league here in our state, and it shouldn’t be taken away from NSW for whatever reason.”

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