‘That sucks’: Debate erupts as NSW to host 2024 NRL grand final

The NRL 360 panel has clashed after it was revealed that Sydney had locked in the 2024 NRL grand final at Sydney’s Accor Stadium.

News Corp’s Phil Rothfield broke the news that Sydney was locked in as the venue for the NRL decider this season after striking a $10m deal with the NSW Government.

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However, it’s a deal that will have to be renewed every year, as the NRL takes its bidding process to a year-to-year model.

It comes after the 2022 season where the location for the decider was held over NSWs head as the NRL fielded a bid from Queensland.

For the record, Accor Stadium, which was the Sydney Olympic stadium, has a capacity of 83,500 fans, while Brisbane’s Suncorp Stadium has a capacity of 52.500, although is arguably the best rugby league stadium in the world.

In NRL history, only one grand final — the 2021 decider — has been held outside of NSW due to a rise in Covid cases at the time.

The NRL have been hesitant to lock NSW in for a long-term deal until there is a commitment to rebuild suburban grounds in the state.

But speaking on Fox League’s NRL 360, journalists Paul Kent and Brent Read clashed over the future of the NRL decider.

Read said it had been an issue over the past three or four years and that he’d “like to see it go on the road”.

“I’m a Queenslander, I’d like to see it in Brisbane,” Read said. “At least once every three or four years.

But Kent wasn’t having it.

“I don’t think the game should ever go on the road, I think it should always be in Sydney. It’s a tradition,” Kent said.

“We’ve made so many changes to the game in recent years but the game has still got to have its traditions and respect its traditions. And one of the traditions is, other than the Covid year, the grand final has always been played in Sydney.

“If you talk to old players from the 90s from the Broncos and the Raiders who all had to go to Sydney and play semi-finals and grand finals in Sydney, they all speak about how there was just a feel in the air when they had to go to Sydney, they knew it was finals time. They felt it, they felt the road trip added to the experience and it just brought a buzz around the game that I don’t believe is there when you’re playing home semi-finals.

“Home semi-finals suck to be honest, they all should be in Sydney, you need to make it special.”

Home semi-finals refers to the teams outside of Sydney being able to play their preliminary final at a major stadium in their home region. From the second week of finals, Sydney teams have to play at either CommBank Stadium, the SCG, Allianz Stadium or Accor Stadium.

Braith Anasta asked: “Why do they suck, Kenty?”

“Because you need to make it special. There was a period there where we had a couple of bad crowds for a few years and that’s when they brought up the chat that they should be played at home where they get the home crowd but it hasn’t really transpired into what they thought it would be,” Kent said.

Read said: “Suncorp is a pretty special ground, Kenty”.

Kent replied: “Why not respect your heritage?”

Read: “We’ve already taken one there already.”

Fox Sports’ James Hooper interjected: “You don’t run the Melbourne Cup at Randwick, it’s called history, it’s called tradition and you’ve got to respect it.”

“The Super Bowl is obviously shopped around and I understand the X-factor but it doesn’t mean it’s right.”

Kent: “That’s where they pinched the idea, I don’t like it.”

Read: “I’m not saying alternate it every year, I’m saying once every five years.”

The call triggered Kent, who replied: “Oh please. Once every five years? That sucks even more.

“Once every five years — what a dud idea that is.”

Read: “Tell Queenslanders that.”

Kent: “Mate, they travelled to Vegas, they’ll travel to Sydney.”

Read: “Why can’t Sydneysiders travel to Queensland.”

It’s the age old debate that won’t end any time soon.

Read related topics:Sydney


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