UPDATE: Sydney’s Accor Stadium will host the 2022 NRL Grand Final but Australian Rugby League Commission boss Peter V’landys has made it clear the coming years are very much up for grabs.
New South Wales held up an offer from Queensland to steal the decider, with V’landys only conceding last-minute concessions to keep the game in Sydney, admitting Brisbane had the advantage until Wednesday afternoon.
The ARLC was at odds with the NSW government after Premier Dominic Perrottet backed down from a promise to fund suburban land improvements, with V’landys threatening to move the Interstate Grand Final.
READ MORE: Fuming Kyrgios booed in resounding defeat
READ MORE: Driver reveals F1 doesn’t want you to know
READ MORE: England tumble as South African bowlers go wild
Queensland’s Suncorp Stadium hosted last year’s decider due to Sydney’s COVID-19 lockdown.
“We have made a decision that we believe is in the best interests of our fans,” V’landys said.
“It’s only for a year, I have to stress that. It’s not for the long term. Negotiations will resume for future Grand Finals.
“It’s really put on the table for future years, it opens the door to a Super Bowl-like concept, or whoever can give us the best deal for the game.”
V’landys pointed out that once the Dolphins enter the competition in 2023, there will be four Queensland-based teams.
“Prime Minister (Annastacia) Palaszczuk is great to work with, I called her before making the announcement, she understands politics and what we needed to do,” V’landys said.
“If you do it pro rata, one in four would have to go to Queensland. It gave us the opportunity to look at that.”
The ARLC did not reveal exactly how much the NSW government had paid to keep the game in Sydney, but confirmed the deal only covered the grand final, not controversial stadium upgrades or Centers of Excellence funding .
The New South Wales government says it must redirect money that was set aside for flood recovery improvements after the state was battered earlier this year.
It’s an excuse that doesn’t sit well with V’landys, who accused Perrotet of not keeping his promises.
“The Prime Minister is a very good guy. Dom and I, I believe, are friends, or we were up until a few weeks ago,” he said.
“Dom is a very good prime minister, he’s a very good human being, but don’t bet with him because if you win he won’t pay you.”
V’landys began his announcement by jokingly revealing that both Sydney and Brisbane had missed out.
“I will be very brief and sweet, the Commission has been in negotiations for over a week,” he said.
“So we wanted to give it to a city that needs a major footballing event, and that’s why we went with Melbourne.
“Just kidding… greetings Gil (McLachlan) if you’re watching.”
For a daily dose of the best news and exclusive content from Wide World of Sports, subscribe to our newsletter by click here!
The stories and controversies that sparked feuds involving athletes