If Mike Baird remains Premier the Sydney Cricket & Sports Ground Trust will almost certainly lose its bid to build a new football stadium at Moore Park. And to be a fly on the wall when the trust meets to talk about that.
Trust chairman Tony Shepherd and chief executive Jamie Barkley will be able to brief fellow trustees about what they saw at San Francisco's state-of-the-art Levi's Stadium during last week's Super Bowl.
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The Sydney Cricket and Sports Ground Trust wants to build a new stadium on top of Kippax Lake, next to the Sydney Cricket Ground.
Shepherd told Fairfax Media he paid for his own trip. But Barkley is on his second trust-funded international jaunt in the past couple of years, scoping out what's good in the world's grandest arenas.
The trouble, however, is that Barkley may not be able to apply the hard-won lessons gleaned from London, Los Angeles, San Francisco and New York. While Barkley's been travelling, the Premier has been preparing to ditch plans announced only in September to grant the trust money for a new stadium at Moore Park.
And while the trust and their cheer-leading Sports Minister Stuart Ayres are aware of this fact, they're fighting a remarkable rear-guard effort to keep those plans alive.
The trust's designs on getting its hands on more Sydney parkland go back decades. But for the sake of this story it makes sense to begin in September, when Baird and Ayres said they would build a new 55,000 seat stadium at Moore Park to replace the 28-year-old Allianz Stadium.
The policy, some noted at the time, was always a bit strange. Allianz rarely sells out. Why the need to spend about a billion dollars that could otherwise go to hospitals or schools to replace a stadium that so rarely sells out with something bigger?
But an important voice at the time was Dave Smith, then head of the NRL. Smith, an ex-banker and a hard negotiator, wanted a new stadium at Allianz. And it made little sense for the Baird government to defy the wishes of the state's biggest sporting code in choosing its stadium plans.
But Smith left in October. And that created an opportunity for Baird, who may or may not have always felt the case for a new stadium at Moore Park was suspect - I don't know the answer to that - to reassess the decision.
So Baird did something that probably should have been done before.
The Premier, Fairfax Media can reveal, asked Infrastructure NSW to look at whether there would be any economic benefit from tearing down Allianz and building a replacement.
Around the same time, just before Christmas, he asked the trust what it thought of a cheaper refurbishment of Allianz, rather than a rebuild.
The trust's response has been typical of its take-no-prisoners approach.
The trust, it seems, went to work on a public relations campaign to secure support for its new stadium, at the expense of Baird's mooted refurbishment. The strategy would sell an idea along the lines of "More Park for Moore Park." It would talk about all the great things that could happen on the existing site of Allianz stadium if a new venue was built nearby.
But as the trust was developing its PR campaign, Fairfax Media found out about it and reported that the plans involved a new stadium on top of nearby Kippax Lake. The response from locals was predictable: they would fight it every step of the way.
Meanwhile, the chief executive of Infrastructure NSW, Jim Betts, concluded his preliminary advice on January 25.
That advice found there was no economic benefit to the state of NSW from building a new stadium at Moore Park. Any events that might be attracted to Moore Park from the fancy new arena would simply be relocated from other areas in Sydney. No economic windfall would be stolen from Melbourne or Macau.
Yes, Betts' advice also said Allianz was in need of work. But the solution to that could be found in a cheaper $300 million refurbishment over the next decade or so rather than the construction of an entirely new venue.
Armed with Betts' advice, Baird has since asked the NRL if it would prefer if the government spent the bulk of about $1 billion for new stadiums on turning ANZ Stadium at Homebush into a premium rectangular venue.
The answer, with Smith gone, is almost certainly that it would. Rugby league fans find it easier to travel to Olympic Park than Moore Park. Moreover the existing tenants of Allianz - Sydney FC, the Roosters and the Waratahs - have no desire to be left homeless for three years during the construction of a new stadium.
At some stage, Baird will have to announce the policy about-face. But he's probably going to have the NRL's support in doing so.
One of the remarkable aspects of this saga, however, has been the role of Ayres. Even as he has known that his Premier is moving away from supporting a new stadium at Moore Park, Ayres, the Member for Penrith, has been loudly and passionately declaring the urgent and dire need for a new $1 billion stadium in Sydney's east.
Which all just points to the power of the trust - an eastern suburbs clique whose influence has always extended so much further than its dusty strip of Paddington parkland. This year, however, it might not get its way.
Jacob Saulwick is city editor.