The NRL grand final looks set to remain in Sydney for at least the next decade with the NSW government demanding a long-term commitment before investing a billion dollars into the city's major stadiums.
With the grand final up for grabs from 2020, the NRL had previously indicated the competition's showpiece event could go on the road for the first time in more than a century.
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However the NSW government is desperate for the grand final, which injected close to $17 million into the state's economy in visitor spend last year, to remain in Sydney for decades despite a strong push from the Queensland government to take it north of the border.
It is understood former NRL boss Dave Smith had threatened to take the grand final to Brisbane or Melbourne if the state government didn't come to the party with substantial funding to upgrade Sydney stadia, ARLC chairman John Grant last year admitting the NRL was considering taking the decider away from its traditional home.
The state government has since pledged $1.6 billion into Sydney sporting facilities and is now in a position to demand the NRL provide a return on their investment with a long-term commitment to playing the grand final in Sydney.
This comes despite the NRL being keen to explore other markets for the premiership decider once in every five to 10 years.
The NRL had originally declared its preference was for a new 55,000-seat stadium (approximately $800 million) to be built at Moore Park with ANZ Stadium to be given a face lift ($200 million).
However Smith's departure from League Central has seen six Sydney-based NRL clubs (Roosters, Rabbitohs, Dragons, Bulldogs, Tigers and Eels) involved in discussions, with premier Mike Baird expected to support a push to backflip on the government's original plans.
Fairfax Media reported last week that the six NRL clubs were close to reaching an agreement to change the funding breakdown, allowing for a major redevelopment of ANZ Stadium into the country's premier rectangular venue, while also refurbishing Allianz Stadium in favour of a new facility at Moore Park.
The clubs are expected to meet again next week to discuss the best way to split funding, with the NRL likely to back the proposal when they report back to Baird next month.
"The NRL is still in discussions with the clubs and government on stadia plans," an NRL spokesperson said.
The future of the grand final will be of significant interest to the state government considering Grant's comments before last year's premiership decider between the Brisbane Broncos and the North Queensland Cowboys.
"The NSW government has made commitments around stadia in Sydney and it will be reliant on having headline content," Grant, who hails from Queensland, said last September.
"Similarly, there are discussions now about upgrading what is still the best special purpose rugby league stadium in Australia (Suncorp Stadium), if not the world.
"We will make sure we are responsive to the governments that are investing. We have to keep our options open but there are commitments being made.
"We use the State of Origin on a three-year cycle to launch rugby league and confirm league's position elsewhere in the Australian community. We will do the same with grand finals and other big events."
The Queensland government has been working closely with the Broncos about bringing a grand final to the 52,000-seat Suncorp Stadium, with the chances of a shift north boosted by the success of the all-Queensland grand final between Broncos and Cowboys last October.
However momentum hit a roadblock when coach Wayne Bennett declared the grand final should remain in Sydney.
"It's where the grand final has always been played, it's the biggest city in Australia – why wouldn't you play the grand final there?" Bennett said last year.
"But I have appreciated what has happened up here. It was the first preliminary final the Broncos have played at home. But Sydney should still host the grand final in my opinion."