Sydney Football Stadium delay could risk NRL Grand Final
As construction of the new Sydney Football Stadium finally gets underway, the completion date has been pushed back to the end of September 2022, meaning it may be unable to host the NRL Grand Final.
An online community forum held by Infrastructure NSW body and stadium developer John Holland revealed an updated construction timetable that outlined a “technical completion” in July 2022, but full completion not due until the end of quarter three in 2020, or the end of September - after the likely date of the 2022 NRL Grand Final.
With the NSW Government having previously targeted full completion in July 2022, in October last year the NRL confirmed a deal to keep its Grand Final in Sydney until 2046. The agreement will see the Sydney Cricket Ground host the showpiece game in 2020 and 2021 before the event moves to the adjacent Sydney Football Stadium in 2022.
The Grand Final is then due to return to ANZ Stadium in 2023 after a major redevelopment for the Olympic venue is completed.
Advising that Infrastructure NSW and the NRL remain confident the 2022 Grand Final will be held at the new Sydney Football Stadium, a report in the Sydney Morning Herald this week noted that any delays to the project would cause a major issue with the stadium hosting the event.
While a spokesperson for NSW Infrastructure advised “the time between technical completion in July 2022 and the 2022 NRL Grand Final will be used for testing, commissioning and operational readiness”, the NRL is understood to be concerned that there may not be time for the planned test events to take place ahead of the stadium’s opening.
Infrastructure NSW also stated the COVID-19 pandemic will not compromise the stadium project, despite shift times being altered for workers and increased cleaning on site, the spokesperson adding “work is continuing on site and remains on track to be complete in time for the 2022 NRL Grand Final.”
The forum is also said to have presented an updated design for the stadium, including more brick features in an effort to complement the neighbouring SCG.
In December, the NSW Government announced Chinese-owned construction group John Holland would build the venue at a cost of $828 million - $99 million more than it had pledged its 2019 election manifesto.
Infrastructure NSW last week announced that the project had achieved a major milestone with the start of piling works at the site.