Indications Rabbitohs may dump Stadium Australia for new SFS
The South Sydney Rabbitohs may be on their way to the new Sydney Football Stadium, with a lack of investment at the Olympic stadium a clear issue for the NRL club.
The club has played their home games at the 83,500-capacity Stadium Australia since 2006 and has enjoyed a strong and successful alliance with the Homebush venue.
However, Souths chief executive Blake Solly has spoken of the difficulties in “justifying” remaining at the ageing stadium.
Last year, the NSW Government sensationally dumped the proposed $810 million redevelopment of Stadium Australia, and no further plans have since been announced to invest in the ground.
It left its two NRL home clubs, the Canterbury Bulldogs and South Sydney Rabbitohs, frustrated and considering their future at the 22 year-old stadium.
The Bunnies revealed in October they would continue playing at the venue until at least the end of the 2022 season, following member feedback that the stadium was a preferred home ground.
It opens the door for a move to the brand-new $780m Sydney Football Stadium, which is due to open in time for the 2022 NRL Finals Series. The Moore Park venue is located just 3kms from their spiritual home at Redfern and the club previously played at the venue between 1988 and 1999, and again between 2002 and 2005.
The club recently announced plans for their new training base, nearby at The Heffron Centre at Maroubra, which is expected to be complete by the end of 2022.
“Clearly we have had a great relationship with Stadium Australia – they have been wonderful partners for our club,” Solly said.
“But it makes it very hard for us to justify staying at Stadium Australia when we know our members, fans and corporate partners deserve the best experience they can get - certainly at least one that will match the experience that fans, partners and members of other clubs are going to receive at the newly built stadiums.
“We have been asking for some time to understand what the government and NRL’s plans are for stadium investment.
“Hopefully we will get some understanding pretty soon, and then we can make a decision which is in the best interests of the football club, its members and partners.
“It (the SFS) is certainly close to our traditional heartland, but we also have a huge amount of members in western Sydney and outside the South Sydney area that love the club as well.
“We want to make sure that the supporters that have got behind us at Stadium Australia are equally well looked after at any new venue.”
If the Rabbitohs did move to the new Sydney Football Stadium, they would join the Sydney Roosters who've already committed long-term to the venue.
NRL chief executive Andrew Abdo claimed there weren’t any plans for a redevelopment of Stadium Australia.
“I’m not aware of any redevelopment of ANZ Stadium but we are working with the NSW Government on a commitment to invest in suburban stadiums and infrastructure across the state. Those talks are ongoing,” Abdo said.