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Melbourne to host NRL grand final? The fighting words begin

The Roar The Roar 15/04/2016

According to Victorian Sports Minister John Eren, the MCG is the perfect place to host the NRL grand final while the Olympic Stadium is out of action during its renovation.

With the NRL committed to hosting the NRL Grand Final at ANZ Stadium for 20 years after the renovations are complete in 2023, the time during the renovation is up in the air – so the Victorian politicians have struck out first.

“All we need are the goalposts. So the offer is there and clearly Sydney is not up to it,” Eren told Channel 7. Why he thinks Sydney isn’t up to it isn’t made entirely clear, but them’s the breaks.

He went on, citing the time he sat next to Mike Baird during the State of Origin game at the MCG last year, which had 90,000 attendees.

“The offer is on the table.”

“If you want a successful event where we will get over 90,000 attending and hopefully break another crowd record, I’d have it right here in Melbourne.”

All of this comes after it was announced ANZ Stadium in Homebush would get the lion’s share of the money and attention in the NSW government’s new Stadiums plan, with $700 million going to converting it into the best rectangular stadium in the Southern hemisphere.

Just repeating that for a moment. $700 million. Parramatta Stadium is also in for a hefty upgrade, while Allianz Stadium will not be rebuilt, instead being the focus of another upgrade.

The ANZ Stadium upgrade is set to take place during 2019-2022, where it will be, for the most part, out of action.

Whether or not it would actually host the NRL’s big dance is unclear, but there’s a window for alternate venues to throw their hat in the ring.

It flies in the face of new NRL CEO Todd Greenberg’s words, who was bullish about the new stadium deal being a boost for rugby league in New South Wales.

“This is an historic day for rugby league… one which will give our fans the comfort and facilities they deserve,” Greenberg said.

“Our aim was to ensure that rugby league benefited from any allocation of stadium funding – and this package delivers that outcome.”

Now we’re just waiting for Suncorp Stadium and the Queensland government, who are probably in an even stronger position than the MCG, to weigh into the debate.

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