Why Queensland didn’t get the grand final

The grand final will not grace Suncorp Stadium in the near future with the Queensland public robbed of a chance to experience rugby league's greatest day. Here's how the NRL justified it.

The former Queensland premier explained why the NRL opted for the SCG while ANZ Stadium, which has hosted grand finals since 1999, undergoes a major facelift.

The SCG will not only host the 2020 NRL grand final, but could also get the 2021 decider. A newly built Allianz Stadium at Sydney's Moore Park will be considered for the 2022 NRL grand final before the completion of a remodelled 70,000-seat ANZ Stadium in 2023.

The NRL's grand-final hosting strategy is a kick in the guts for Queensland and Suncorp Stadium, which holds 52,500 seats, superior to the 46,000-capacity SCG.

Suncorp is widely counted as one of the top rugby league stadiums in the world. Image AAP/Steve Pohlner.
Suncorp is widely counted as one of the top rugby league stadiums in the world. Image AAP/Steve Pohlner.

The decision has angered fans, with hundreds of NRL supporters throwing their support behind a Suncorp Stadium grand final in an exclusive Courier-Mail poll.

Three-quarters of the approximately 2000 respondents said the 2020 decider should be held at Suncorp, while just 15 per cent backed in the Sydney Cricket Ground.

Beattie declared Suncorp "as the best rectangular stadium in Australia", but the ARLC boss said contractual commitments to the NSW Government were a key factor.

"We did a deal some time ago which agreed that if the (NSW) Government rebuilt Allianz and ANZ Stadium, then NSW gets the grand final for the next 25 years," Beattie told The Courier-Mail.

"Quite rightly, there is a difference in size between the SCG and Suncorp Stadium. Suncorp has a greater capacity, but the NSW Government gets the first right of negotiations in all of this.

"The bottom line is we did a deal with them and we have to honour that deal.

"We certainly do have the fans to consider. We anticipated that we would have the SCG as a hosting venue in 2020 and then we would be back at ANZ the following year. That has now changed, so we have to work through what happens now."

The SCG is a polarising venue for rugby league. Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images.
The SCG is a polarising venue for rugby league. Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images.

He said the NRL has not ruled out Suncorp as a possible grand-final contingency for 2021 if negotiations with the NSW Government collapsed.

He also defended the sport's commitment to Queensland league fans, pointing to last month's Magic Round, which saw all 16 NRL teams play eight games in four days at Suncorp.

"I was among the people who pushed for the Magic Round to go to Suncorp because the grand finals were going to be in Sydney," Beattie said.

"We copped brickbats about the Magic Round going to Suncorp, but we wanted the Queensland fans to get their fair share of content and it was a great success.

"My government built Suncorp Stadium, it is the best rectangular stadium in Australia. Not every government was as visionary as mine to build something like Suncorp Stadium. I love Suncorp Stadium and when I was in government I argued there should be grand finals there and there was one in 1997 with Super League.

"Suncorp has the ability to do it. It is a magnificent stadium and it has the resources to do it. But at the moment we have a problem to solve with the NSW Government.

"We have a problem in 2021 and the NSW Government have to help us solve it.

"If they don't we will look at other options, including Suncorp."

State Tourism and Major Events Minister Kate Jones said Queensland was "continuously being ripped off by the NRL".

"Queensland is the only state that continues to deliver record crowds to rugby league matches each and every single week," she said.

"We have continuously shown loyalty to the NRL and rugby league, and it is about bloody time they show that loyalty back to us."