The NSW Government will spend $113 million over the next four years with a Budget boost to deliver three new state of the art Rugby League Centres of Excellence, to support the development of future male and female NRL players.
The Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs, St George-Illawarra Dragons and Parramatta Eels will develop new Centres of Excellence at Belmore Sports Ground, the University of Wollongong and Kellyville Park.
Minister for Tourism and Sport and Western Sydney Stuart Ayres said each Centre of Excellence will include integrated world-class high-performance training, administration and community facilities.
“The NSW Government’s investment in Rugby League Centres of Excellence is not only bridging the gap between elite sport and the general community but cements NSW’s position as the home of the NRL,” Mr Ayres said.
“From community engagement to high performance outcomes, these facilities will help grow the sport and provide local pathways for our future stars of the NRLW and NRL.”
Treasurer Matt Kean said NSW was in the midst of a sports facility construction boom.
“These projects will create dozens of valuable jobs, providing another boost to the construction industry as the NSW economy bounces back from the impacts of the pandemic,” Mr Kean said.
Parramatta Eels CEO Jim Sarantinos said: “Kellyville Park will not only provide a world-class high performance facility for the Parramatta Eels NRL, NRLW and Elite Pathways teams, but will also be a precinct that will enable our Club to connect with the local community, cater to the changing needs of one of the fastest-growing regions in Australia and increase participation across all forms of rugby league for boys and girls from grassroots all the way up to the elite levels of the game.”
St George-Illawarra Dragons CEO Ryan Webb said: “This is a fantastic outcome for our club and community as it will bring both our female and male football programs, along with our extensive community activities together in an accessible learning environment,” Mr Webb said.
“The club and University of Wollongong have been working on our Community and High Performance Centre for 18 months and we thank the State Government for seeing the value in what we are working to achieve for our sport and community and helping us make it a reality.”
Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs CEO Aaron Warburton said: “This is fantastic news for both our Club and the whole Canterbury-Bankstown area. Being able to create a world-class Centre of Excellence at Belmore will enable our current generation of players, and stars of the future, to access the best facilities and the spin on effect from that is that the local community will also benefit enormously,” Mr Warburton said.
“We are incredibly grateful to the NSW Government for investing in the future of our Club and area, in the knowledge that this will be incredibly beneficial for young male and female players for decades to come.”
The NSW Government has invested in eight Centres of Excellence projects under the NRL Centres of Excellence Program and NSW Government Centres of Excellence Program.