Two of rugby league’s great thinkers differ radically on where the NRL should take its grand final while ANZ Stadium undergoes its extreme makeover.
On the same day Brisbane supercoach Wayne Bennett urged the game to stick with tradition and keep the decider in Sydney, Penrith supremo Phil Gould said it was time rugby league moved with the times.
That means Brisbane having first crack at the October showpiece.
“They probably deserve the first one,” Gould told AAP on Friday.
The fierce New South Welshmen and Origin’s most successful coach before Mal Meninga’s record reign between 2006-13 said Sydney had been overtaken as rugby league’s No.1 city.
That title now belonged to the capital of the Sunshine State.
“Brisbane’s been the rugby league capital of the world for a long time now, obviously with the success of the Origin team and the Broncos,” Gould continued.
“They’ve supported everything. They’ve supported Test matches and other rugby league events up there, probably better than Sydney, to be honest.
“So if it is to move, certainly in the initial stages, Brisbane deserve it.”
The Queensland and Victorian governments are attempting to lure the decider to Brisbane or Melbourne during the proposed upgrade to the Olympic venue between 2019 and 2022.
And while the NRL is yet to confirm their plans for the big dance during the redevelopment process, Bennett insisted some traditions be kept sacred, even if it meant taking it to the SCG.
“Sydney’s the home of the NRL grand final, simple as that,” he said.
“Melbourne is the home of the AFL grand final. We shouldn’t tamper with it, we shouldn’t play with it.
“It’s about the history of the game, the tradition and that’s pretty important to a lot of people.”
The NRL confirmed both the Victorian and Queensland governments have made preliminary approaches to them about hosting the grand final but the situation was far from resolved.
“We need to know when ANZ is available before we have any talks,” the NRL said in a statement to AAP.
“We also need to ensure we put the NSW government first given they have committed $1.6 billion to stadia.”