New twist raises chances decider could leave Sydney for first time

Allianz, previously known as the Sydney Football Stadium, hasn’t hosted a premiership decider since Brisbane beat Canterbury in the final game of 1998. There’s a feeling the novelty of going to the rebuilt ground as a one-off would be acceptable to the NRL if compensation is provided to offset the loss of earnings of having ANZ Stadium unavailable. But the prospect of two consecutive deciders at the SCG has little appeal to the governing body due to the relatively poor spectator experience that comes with watching league at a cricket ground.

The SCG hasn’t hosted a grand final since 1987, the year Manly beat Canberra to lift the Winfield Cup.

If the 25-year agreement to keep grand finals in Sydney commences once the stadium network has been rebuilt, the grand final will remain in Sydney until at least 2048.

Melbourne has expressed an interest in pinching the grand final if it is up for grabs after successfully hosting a number of State of Origin games in recent years. However, Brisbane’s Suncorp Stadium is the favourite to host the match in 2021 if the NRL and the NSW Government fail to come to terms.

The NRL has raised the prospect of seeking compensation in the form of land packages, a move that would allow it to relocate its headquarters. However, it is understood this isn’t a preferred outcome for either party and several other options will be more vigorously pursued.


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