Rugby League

NRL: Country Rugby League headquarters could move to Canberra under proposal

Australian Rugby League Commission chairman John Grant has supported a proposal for the headquarters of the Country Rugby League to be situated in Canberra.

The idea is for the CRL to be relocated from its base in Sydney to the offices of the Canberra Raiders at Bruce.

This would only happen if the Raiders are successful in their wish to move to their proposed new base at Braddon.

Grant was in Canberra on Friday to meet with ACT Chief Minister Andrew Barr and Raiders chief executive Don Furner to discuss the proposal.

Grant said the idea made "logical sense" in being able to develop a regional hub for country rugby league, while at the same time having access to facilities at the AIS.

"This is in country NSW, that's where we see it, that's where people see it," Grant said.

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"We're doing work around our elite pathways to be state league teams into regional NSW to give the pathway from under-16s to under-18s to under-20s to the state league side.

"There's going to be a huge amount more focus go back to regional areas and we'll build with government and their regional planning.

"You have to find centres and hubs for which to do that and it's hard to walk away from the facilities you have here.

"It makes logical sense so it's going to be hard to walk away from."

The Raiders' planned $80 million residential and retail development in Braddon hit another hurdle, with a community council contesting the Planning and Land Authority's approval of the project.

The North Canberra Community Council has appealed the authority's December 23 approval of the development application to the ACT Civil and Administrative Tribunal.

The appeal will go to mediation on March 3, with another directions hearing possible depending on the result.

Meanwhile, Grant said Canberra would present a strong bid to host games in the 2017 Rugby League World Cup.

"That's a process that is unfolding at the moment," Grant said.

"Today is the day where bids for games are to be tabled and I guess there is about a month's process before decisions will be made.

"The World Cup organisers are looking for two things – community engagement through the placement of World Cup matches and they're looking for commercial returns.

"This is their one revenue generating opportunity every four years, so they need to maximise that and they invest back into the development of international rugby league."

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