The NRL has received a number of emails questioning the decision around home city venues for Sydney teams in Week One of the NRL Finals Series.
At last year’s annual conference, NRL clubs endorsed the move to play the first week of finals under the home city model, rather than necessarily at a team's home ground. One of the key reasons for this was the growing number of people attending finals matches, which meant that many people were getting locked out of the opportunity to attend the games due to the capacity at some venues. Even the growing number of members of each club were finding it difficult to get the seating they were entitled to. This was particularly the case for clubs that used multiple grounds and had different membership packages for each.
To ensure as many people as possible are able to attend finals matches it was resolved that finals games should be held at consistent venues in each city that could cater for that demand.
Unfortunately in many areas the demands around finals matches has outgrown some of the grounds. As well as the need to accommodate members, there are the added complexities of needing to provide dressing rooms for four different clubs (to accommodate Toyota Cup) and the increased broadcasting requirements around finals.
We understand that many fans enjoy the home ground concept and that it impacts more on some Sydney clubs than others, but the decision was made to benefit the interests of as many supporters as possible and provide the best possible facilities for the competing clubs, members and fans.