Dominic Perrottet’s refusal to honour an agreement with the NRL to adequately fund upgrades to suburban grounds has opened the door for Queensland and Victoria to swoop in and steal future NRL Grand Finals from the people of NSW.
These audacious bids come on the back of a decade of NSW Government neglect of iconic and much-loved grounds like Leichhardt Oval, Henson Park and Campbelltown Stadium.
The Premier is in crisis talks with NRL Chairman, Peter V’landys today following a breakdown of the previous agreement to keep the grand final in Sydney until at least 2042. That agreement is void because the Government is still refusing to commit funds to the upgrade of suburban grounds following its cancellation of a commitment to rebuild Stadium Australia.
Despite the Premier’s track record of only spending money to upgrade stadiums in marginal or Liberal held seats, the NRL are standing firm on their position that adequately funding the upgrade of all suburban grounds is a pre-requisite to committing to a new long-term deal to keep the grand final in Sydney.
Inner West Mayor, Darcy Byrne said, “The whole rugby league community loves Leichhardt Oval and Henson Park, they are central to our culture and heritage and they are home to several clubs, codes and community groups. Despite this, for the past 11 years, the NSW Government has stubbornly refused to provide a single dollar of support to upgrade them.
“Dom Perrottet is happy to spend $300 million in a marginal seat, to build a shiny, new Panthers Stadium for the exclusive use of one club for its 11 games a year. But the Tigers, the Jets, the Waratahs, the WAFL, Men and Women’s Soccer and all of the other community groups who regularly use Leichhardt Oval and Henson Park, get nothing.
“The Premier likes to make a big deal of being a Tigers fan but given his abysmal record of failing to support our spiritual homes at Leichhardt and Campbelltown, it’s starting to look like his alleged support for the Club is just a charade.
“Continuing to neglect the eighth wonder of the world and jeopardising the NRL Grand Final in the process is just bonkers. If Dom Perrottet is brave enough to leave the corporate box and come on to the Wayne Pearce Hill at the Tigers next home game, he’s going to get a very frosty reception from the fans unless he brings a cheque with him.”