Smith sees NRL GF future outside NSW

NRL boss Dave Smith believes the future of the grand final may lie in a rotation of venues between NSW, Queensland and a new market.

Smith said in order to further expand the game, major events like the grand final, could be moved around Australia on a cycle similar to State of Origin.

“The way that we manage Origin is quite a good example of I think the way things potentially roll out in the future, whereby we do one year focused in NSW, one year focused in Queensland and a third year we take a game away,” Smith told Sky Sports Radio.

“In the future with some of our big events I can see how we continue to do that because it’s a way of expanding the game and attracting a new fan base.

“I can see that we do that more frequently in the future.”

Smith said 25,000 interstate fans descending on Sydney for last Sunday’s decider between North Queensland and Brisbane, as well as the mass migration of Origin supporters to a midweek Melbourne fixture earlier in the year, showed people’s willingness to travel to major events.

Despite rejuvenated calls for a second Brisbane team on the back of the all-Queensland grand final a big crowds for the Broncos, Smith reiterated the league’s position to shore up the future of existing clubs before expanding but indicated Queensland was the fierst expansion priority.

“The number one priority is to make sure the clubs we’ve got are sustainable and prosperous and I think there’s a bit of work for us to do there,” Smith said.

“Once you’ve got that sorted then clearly the opportunity is in the Queensland market to create more of a conference system.”

He said the $1.6 billion to be spent on new stadiums in NSW would create a geographical spread to boost languishing crowds in the state.

“You will more often than not be able to fill your stadiums, it’ll just be the right size for the right game,” Smith said.

He said an enhanced experience with new stadiums at Moore Park (55,000 capacity), Paramatta (30-35,000) and Penrith (25,000) would help to boost crowds.

“I think you will see an increase in people coming, but nonetheless we’re not trying to get 80,000 coming to every game,” Smith said.

Smith said he understood the frustration some had with the golden point rule, but didn’t see it changing.

“I think it’s as good a system as any. Certainly from a fan perspective it was pretty exciting,” Smith said.

“I can’t see see that there’s likely to be a change to that particular position.”

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