Ballymore redevelopment a "real opportunity" for rugby

Super Rugby
by Sam Phillips

The NRL taking a State of Origin match to Adelaide in 2020 presents a "real opportunity" for rugby, according to Tourism Minister Kate Jones.

Queenslanders have reacted to the news Origin would be played at Adelaide Oval with disdain, leaving the door open for the QRU to seize a rare opportunity as it searches for funds to redevelop the famous ground.

Jones, who met with some of the women who starred in Queensland's Brisbane Tens title stars at Parliament House on Thursday, said talks were ongoing regarding the future of Queensland rugby's spiritual home.

"I know that the Sports Minister is in discussions not only with rugby but also with what the future of Ballymore is," Jones said.

"I have regular meetings with the QRU, not only about the facilities but also about how we can grow content here in Queensland.Kate Jones believes there is an 'opportunity' to be seized for Queensland rugby. Photo: Getty Images"At a time where the NRL is choosing to take the State of Origin out of Queensland to Adelaide, you can see how Queensland fans have reacted to that.

"This might be a real opportunity for rugby."

Having been the home of all Queensland's home games until the early 2000s, Ballymore is now outdated and a $1 million drain per year for the QRU.

It doesn't have the public transport capacity to host 20,000 people, let alone the facilities to support a crowd that large.

But while it has its shortcomings, it also presents an opportunity for Rugby Australia, with the stadium currently the most valuable asset for the code in the country.Women's rugby could play a significant role in the potential redevelopment. Photo: Rugby Australia MediaWhat structure ownership may take should a redevelopment be given the tick of approval remains to be seen but one drawcard will be the women's World Cup for both rugby (2021) and soccer (2023), events that would suit a stadium of Ballymore's size, rather than Suncorp Stadium.

"What we have seen is that people, Queenslanders and Australians are getting behind our women players," Jones said.

"Whether that's in rugby or any of the other codes in any of the other sports.

"We're just seeing rugby girls nailing it on the world stage - whether it's Sevens or Tens.

"It's a really exciting time to be involved and supporting rugby here in Queensland and in Australia."