SIRU grand final venue could leave Wagga

Conolly Rugby Complex during Southern Inland grand final day in 2014.

Conolly Rugby Complex during Southern Inland grand final day in 2014.

For the first time in 30 years the Southern Inland grand final could be played outside Wagga.

Conolly Rugby Complex has played host to the decider every year since the ground was opened in 1995 and you have to go back to 1987 to find a grand final played outside of the city.

Albury played host 30 years ago, but this could change after an incentive based system was brought in this week.

The SIRU board decided to hand the rights to host the grand final to the team who wins the major semi-final.

It means current leaders Leeton could play host to the grand final on August 26.

Rugby manager Mick McTaggart said the move follows years of discussion between clubs.

“I think it’s created an incentive,” McTaggart said.

“The good thing is the team who comes third still has a chance to host a grand final.

“I think that’s fair.”

The move gives teams a big incentive to win the minor premiership with the top team to play host to the major-semi as well.

The change was welcomed by Leeton president Bart Challacombe.

“It’s fair that it is rotated around so I think it’s a great outcome,” Challacombe said.

Waratahs and Wagga City are potentially the biggest losers from the move however, Waratahs president Warwick Grant could see the merit of the change.

“Financially it will probably put a strain on us, but from a point of fairness it’s hard to argue the other clubs shouldn’t have an opportunity to host if they have the facilities,” Grant said.

McTaggart emphasised the decision will be re-evaluated at the end of the season.

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