How Qld lost the NRL grand final for 25 years
QUEENSLAND'S shot at hosting the NRL grand final has been crash-tackled into the dirt, after the NSW Government stumped up the cash to keep the decider in Sydney for the next quarter-century.
The NRL is expected to issue an official statement this afternoon, but it is understood a top-level meeting of NSW Government heavies last week agreed to deliver a cash windfall to the NRL to prevent the 2021 grand final being lost interstate.
Next year's decider has already been locked in for the SCG, but Queensland's shot at hosting the 2021 game at Suncorp Stadium has been thwarted by the 11th-hour decision.
The NRL and NSW government had previously come to terms on a deal to keep the decider in the Harbour City until the 2040s, as a condition for billions of dollars being spent to upgrade ANZ and Allianz Stadiums.
However that deal was placed in jeopardy when it was revealed neither ANZ or Allianz would be ready to host the 2020 or 2021 grand finals, after lengthy delays in the construction process, sparking a bold pitch by Queensland to bring the game north.
The view was shared by footy fans and rugby league legends on both sides of the border, but the NSW Government was ultimately able to appease the NRL by offering a multimillion-dollar compensation package to make up for the lost revenue caused by having to play the grand finals at the considerably smaller SCG.
Queensland Major Events Minister Kate Jones said the decision to keep the rugby league grand final at a cricket ground for two years was a bad one.
She said it seemed the decision simply came down to money, and Queensland fans had missed out on a rare opportunity.
"I'm gutted. I was thinking how do I feel, I feel gutted," she said.
"I've been a rugby league fan all of my life.
"I think that it would have been great for the game to bring one NRL grand final to Queensland to give our fans an opportunity to see footy at the highest level in a purpose built stadium."
Ms Jones thanked league legends such as Gorden Tallis and even NSW great Matty Johns for coming out in support of a Brisbane grand final.
"We have definitely put our best foot forward," she said.
"Right now I think I feel like a Raiders fan from the grand final."