NRL unmoved on Roosters' preliminary final venue
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NRL unmoved on Roosters' preliminary final venue

The NRL won't shift a preliminary final blockbuster featuring the Roosters against either the Rabbitohs or Dragons to ANZ Stadium, even though projections the match could attract more than the Allianz Stadium capacity.

League Central was quick on Monday to reiterate it had locked in Allianz Stadium for rugby league's final fling at the venue before it's razed in a $705 million redevelopment, due to start later this year.

Home comforts: George Burgess and the Rabbitohs will have to play the Roosters on the home turf of the minor premiers should they meet in a grand final qualifier.

Home comforts: George Burgess and the Rabbitohs will have to play the Roosters on the home turf of the minor premiers should they meet in a grand final qualifier.

Photo: AAP

The Roosters, who collected their fourth minor premiership in the last six years and won straight through to the preliminary final with victory over the Sharks on Saturday night, had banked on playing the grand final qualifier at the venue.

But with their opponent coming from either the crowd-pulling Rabbitohs and Dragons, it sparked speculation the NRL might generate a bigger crowd by moving the game across town to Sydney Olympic Park.

Allianz Stadium has a capacity of 45,500, but the match could expect to attract far in excess of that, especially if the Rabbitohs win their way through for a high-stakes clash against their old enemy.

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But such a move would have been a controversial one and involved moving the clash to South Sydney's home ground, which they have used since 2006.

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The NRL is bracing for potentially its biggest finals crowd outside of a preliminary final or grand final when old rivals the Dragons and Rabbitohs meet at ANZ Stadium on Saturday night.

The record in the NRL era for such a game if 50,621 when the Bulldogs played the Eels in 2007. The Rabbitohs and Parramatta also drew a crowd of 54,626 at the SCG for a 1965 final, the largest in the opening two weeks of a finals series.

Cronulla will play Penrith on Friday night in another all-Sydney elimination final, helping the NRL offset losses from a nightmare task of scheduling week one finals fixtures.