The Sydney Cricket Ground Trust has made a desperate bid to convince several Sydney NRL clubs to back a proposal for a new 55,000-seat stadium at Moore Park over a major upgrade of ANZ Stadium.
The SCG Trust made a presentation to representatives from the NRL, South Sydney, Canterbury Bulldogs, Sydney Roosters and Wests Tigers on Tuesday, providing a design briefing for what a new stadium at Moore Park would look like and how it would benefit the clubs.
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The NRL has also organised for the Cronulla Sharks and Manly Sea Eagles to meet the Trust next month to gain an understanding of whether there is an interest in playing games in the CBD.
Under the watch of former CEO Dave Smith, the NRL had previously indicated it would back the construction of an $800million stadium at Moore Park, and the SCG Trust is working overtime to ensure the NRL's position doesn't change.
However, since Smith's departure, Premier Mike Baird has provided the NRL with the opportunity to consult with its clubs before finalising the breakdown of $1 billion between ANZ Stadium and the SCG Trust.
The NRL has since begun deliberating with the clubs, which appear to support backflipping on the initial funding proposal in favour of remodelling ANZ Stadium (about $800 million), while giving Allianz Stadium a $200 million facelift.
The clubs also met ANZ Stadium officials a fortnight ago, showing off plans to turn the stadium into a rectangular venue – which could now include a retractable roof if it gets the majority of funding allocation.
St George Illawarra chief executive Peter Doust was unable to attend the meeting at the SCG on Tuesday, but the position of the Dragons and fellow joint-venture organisation Wests Tigers holds a lot of weight in the final decision.
Both clubs play the majority of their matches at their respective suburban grounds, but with the state government to invest $1 billion into Sydney stadiums, it's likely they will have to move the majority of their games to the larger venues.
The Tigers are also believed to be weighing up an option to play matches at the new Parramatta Stadium once it opens in March 2019.
The Rabbitohs and Bulldogs will undoubtedly back ANZ Stadium, while the Roosters are understood to be satisfied with an upgrade of Allianz Stadium rather than having to relocate for three years for a 55,000-seat stadium they would rarely fill.
It is understood the Trust presented a video to the clubs on Tuesday, providing an insight into the corporate experience and fan engagement levels a new stadium would provide.
The Sharks and Sea Eagles will have a similar meeting next month, but both clubs have previously indicated they want to remain in their traditional areas.
The NRL is hopeful of going to the state government with a list of which clubs will play at the respective venues once they reach an agreement on their funding priorities.
Regardless of which way the NRL decides to go, the 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 $1 billion 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.