SCG Trust chairman Tony Shepherd and his deputy, Rod McGeoch, will head the new board and an advisory committee has been established to determine the remaining directors.
Long-serving trustee Alan Jones is expected to be named on the new “Super Trust”, along with Venues NSW director and former ARL boss John Quayle.
No matter who comes onto the board, the merger effectively ends NSW’s ugly “stadium wars”, which saw the two bodies competing for “content” with codes, clubs and entertainment promoters for decades.
It also means the new body will control the state’s network of stadiums, meaning the right teams can play at the right venues at the right time.
Which brings us back to South Sydney, who have called ANZ Stadium home since relocating from Allianz in 2006.
At the time, the foundation club was being grossly underpaid by the SCG Trust. The Rabbitohs were struggling financially and were offered about $1 million more per season to play at ANZ Stadium, which was privately owned at the time and desperate for any team to play there.
Quite arrogantly, the Trust’s chief executive at the time, Jamie Barkley, didn’t think Souths would relocate the foundation club to Homebush. He thought they were bluffing.
They weren’t and South Sydney have played at ANZ Stadium ever since. It was a move that helped Souths’ bottom line but didn’t make any sense.
Souths’ current deal with ANZ Stadium ends in 2030, despite NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian announcing earlier this month that the $810 million redevelopment of the venue wouldn’t happen because of the strain of the coronavirus on the state’s economy.
Had the pandemic not occurred, the second State of Origin match would have been played at the Olympic stadium last Sunday night and an NRL match between Souths and the Bulldogs this Saturday would’ve been the last before demolition work started.
Souths chief executive Blake Solly would not be drawn on whether the merger meant games would be played at the new Allianz when it’s completed midway through 2023.
But now, under the one body, the ability for Souths to play at Allianz Stadium appears likely.
“With the recent announcement that the redevelopment of ANZ Stadium has been cancelled, we’ve been looking for direction from the NRL and government on new stadiums,” Mr Solly said. “This is the first step of the process. We’re looking forward to discussing it in further detail with them.”
It remains to be seen if ARL Commission chairman Peter V’landys will be granted his wish of four boutique stadiums worth $200 million each being built over the next decade after Ms Berejiklian reneged on her promise to reconfigure ANZ Stadium into a rectangle.
Some believe it will never happen. Mr V’landys will likely threaten to take the grand final to other states unless his demands are met.
When the dust settles on the new merger, also expect the new body to move on other venues at Sydney Olympic Park.
Venues like the tennis and aquatic centres have been running at a loss for years at the expense of the NSW taxpayer.
Having them under the control of the new all-powerful Super Trust would — again — come dangerously close to common sense.
Andrew Webster is Chief Sports Writer of The Sydney Morning Herald.