Australia: Hasler sees NSW premier's view on stadiums

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Manly coach Des Hasler admits he can understand the NSW government's stance on stadiums spending, even if it costs Brookvale Oval a much-needed upgrade.

Des Hasler understands why suburban grounds upgrades have been placed on hold by the NSW government. © Flavio Brancaleone/AAP PHOTOS Des Hasler understands why suburban grounds upgrades have been placed on hold by the NSW government.

The battle between the NRL and NSW premier Dominic Perrottet continued on Thursday, with Peter V'landys again applying pressure on the government to come good on a deal to refurbish some of Sydney's suburban grounds.

The ARL Commission are awaiting further advice, but will make a call by the start of next week on whether to move this year's NRL grand final to Queensland as threatened.

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Key in the dispute is whether a decision to move the showpiece game away from NSW would hurt any possible legal challenge from the NRL to have the stadiums upgraded as they had expected.

V'landys also claimed on Thursday that he was sympathetic to keeping the grand final in NSW, so as to not "punish" NRL fans who missed attending last year's decider in Brisbane through COVID restrictions.

Senior NSW government ministers did not front any press conferences on Thursday, after a Wednesday of turmoil that included Sports Minister Stuart Ayres' resignation due to the John Barilaro US job saga.

But Perrottet has remained adamant that money originally set aside for grounds should now go to the state's flood disaster relief effort, with more than 1300 people still out of homes.

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If agreement is not reached over the upgrade of several suburban grounds, Hasler's Manly will be one of the clubs most impacted.


Video: NSW government and NRL clash over stadium funding (Sky News Australia)

The Sea Eagles' traditional home of Brookvale was considered at forefront for at least a $100 million refurbishment, that would have likely seen new grandstands replacing the large hill.

And while Hasler would like to see that happen after years of hope at Manly, he is understanding of why it may not be the case.

"It would be fantastic, there is no doubt about it," Hasler said.

"You can see the impact that the sport of rugby league has on community. You can see the arguments for upgrading grounds.

"But you also have to recognise that there are other sympathetic needs that they didn't see coming with the weather and the flooding and the victims.

"It's a difficult one."

Manly received a $33 million centre of excellence and new grandstand at the northern end of the ground this year, but further work has been desired for years.

The NSW government and NRL initially signed a deal in 2018 for the $800 million rebuild of Accor Stadium, which would keep the grand final in Sydney until 2042.

That work was put off early in the COVID-19 pandemic to direct funds to health, and a new strategy was devised which would see a $300 million stadium at Penrith as well as $250 million spent across grounds such as Brookvale, Leichhardt Oval and Shark Park.

It is the basis of that strategy, and the guaranteed Sydney grand final in return, that the NRL is now pushing to be upheld.

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