Sydney grand final under threat as stadium war threatens to spill into courtroom

“When you consider the billions of dollars they spent in the recent budget, the amount they need to honor our agreement is insignificant,” V’Landy’s said. “We will press that they honor the original agreement, which will cost the NSW taxpayer more due to the way they have handled this.”

The NRL spent Tuesday exploring its legal options and has one of the country’s most respected barristers, Alan Sullivan QC, at its disposal on the ARL Commission.

In a statement, Perrottet said the government remained committed to upgrading suburban stadiums but natural disasters and the COVID-19 pandemic meant investment should be staged.

An artist impression of what Stadium Australia was meant to look like with an $800 million renovation.

“The government has just received the Floods Inquiry Report, which will likely require a significant cost to the taxpayer, and I note right now there are still 1366 people without a home in NSW due to flooding,” he said.

“It should come as no surprise that my top priority is therefore supporting those devastated by the major floods across NSW.”

The NRL’s showpiece event, the grand final, is now in danger of being moved from Sydney to Brisbane as the Queensland government prepares to swoop in and steal the decider.

Asked about the future of the event, V’Landys relied: “Everything is now back on the table. It will be a board decision, not mine.”

Sports Minister Stuart Ayres, who is fighting to remain in cabinet over his involvement in the John Barilaro New York trade job scandal, said it would be “an extraordinary move” for the NRL to take the grand final to Queensland.

“We’ve got to make sure that we make investments that are in the best interests of the people of NSW,” he said. “It just might mean that we have to wait a little bit longer before we can spend additional money on those venues.”

While plans to rebuild suburban stadiums such as Leichhardt and Newcastle have now been put on ice, a $300 million redevelopment of a stadium in Ayres’ seat of Penrith will go ahead.

Wests Tigers chairman Lee Hagipantelis blasted the apparent change of policy.


“The government’s management of its stadia policy from the outset has been amateurish and embarrassing,” Hagipantelis told the Herald.

“I assume if the state government is to backflip on its commitment to fund suburban stadiums, then the $300 million committed to the Penrith stadium can now be better utilized for schools and hospitals?

“It would be outrageous for Penrith to retain its stadium for the obvious political benefit of its local member.”

The June state budget pledged $113 million over the next four years to deliver three new training facilities for male and female rugby league players for the Bulldogs (Belmore), Dragons (University of Wollongong) and Eels (Kellyville Park).

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