Manly sweating on Brookvale funding - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Manly sweating on Brookvale funding

By Todd Balym 27/05/2008 07:27:50 PM Comments (0)

Manly chief executive Grant Mayer is refusing to contemplate relocation but admits the NRL club's long-running campaign to upgrade Brookvale Oval is crucial to their Sydney survival.

The Sea Eagles remain optimistic the NSW Government will next week confirm funding in its state budget to redevelop the dilapidated suburban ground after Newcastle's EnergyAustralia Stadium was on Tuesday granted a further $20 million for its facelift.

Manly also need $20 million to upgrade facilities at their stadium, $4 million of which has already been assured by the local Warringah Council.

Mayer said next week's state budget would be crucial to the Sea Eagles future, but vowed to keep fighting if the club is overlooked.

"We know they've got their state budget next week so we're very hopeful that next week there will be an announcement around Brookvale Oval as well," said Mayer.

"Our biggest challenges are obviously revenue streams and it is difficult to grow revenue streams when your venue is outdated.

"It's crucial that the ground is upgraded because the alternative is just something we don't want contemplate ... the alternative is either merger or relocation.

"We will certainly fight as long as we have to until our future at Brookvale is confirmed.

"Relocation is not on the radar for us at all. We will continue to fight no matter what happens at state or federal budgets in the years to come.

"We know that the peninsula is our home ... we will make sure we fight long and hard to keep ourselves on the (northern Sydney) beaches."

All Sydney clubs are currently facing financial strain, not just the highly-publicised dramas facing South Sydney, and many believe the only answer is for further mergers or relocations.

The NRL's offer of $8 million or more to relocate to the Central Coast remains on the table for any club, but the Rabbitohs have steadfastly denied they will consider moving.

Canberra were on Tuesday forced to defend themselves against relocation rumours, their chief executive Don Furner slamming "ridiculous" claims the Raiders could be tempted to move to south-east Queensland.

The Raiders were linked with a move to Logan City, their Queensland Cup feeder side, but Furner says the option of relocation has never been considered by the Raiders as a club, even though they regularly run at a loss.

The Raiders are currently negotiating a five-year deal to remain at Canberra Stadium until the end of 2014.

"We have never ever discussed it and never ever would we consider it," said Furner.

"We won't make a profit (in 2008), no way. You don't make a profit out of footy.

"Our licensed clubs under-write us. If you don't have licensed clubs you would only have four or five clubs in the NRL.

"We're not in as bad a financial position as some Sydney clubs, but our licensed clubs' revenue is down and we have to look at the way we do things."

Mayer said one way he thinks the NRL can help cash-strapped clubs in the future is to change match scheduling during the Origin period.

The Eagles home clash last Friday with the Dragons attracted a poor crowd of 12,058 just two days after the State of Origin opener.

It was one of four NRL games held in NSW after the Sydney Origin game, with no matches in Queensland.

Three of the five matches following Origin III at ANZ Stadium will be played in NSW.

Mayer has previously highlighted the fact Sydney crowds drop an average of 15 per cent around Origin time and wants the marquee event returned to weekends so crowds aren't distracted from club games.

"The game is not hurting, I'm sure the profile is not, but the clubs are hurting," he said of Origin time.

"There is no doubt all Sydney clubs live from one game to the next."

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