As the NSWRL prepares for the next chapter in its 110-year history, one of its most renowned administrators has given his seal of approval.
The NSWRL's Centre of Excellence, due to open in late 2019, will signal a new era for Australia's oldest Rugby League organisation, establishing a permanent home in Sydney Olympic Park. The state-of-the-art facility has been designed to ensure the future success of Rugby League in NSW, including the Brydens Lawyers NSW Blues, the Harvey Norman NSW Women's side, the NSWRL Pathways program and grassroots Rugby League in the state.
The precinct, adjacent to ANZ Stadium in Sydney Olympic Park, will feature a full-sized training field, gymnasium, player recovery facilities and a lecture theatre, as well as the new building for specialised support and the offices of the NSWRL.
While construction of the building is ongoing, the field has been completed and is visible from Dawn Fraser Avenue. Ken Arthurson AM, who served as Chairman of the NSWRL between 1986 and 1997, visited the facility as it nears completion.
"I think it's a wonderful advancement from the NSWRL and will set the organisation up for the future," Arthurson said. "It's a sign of progress for the organisation and Rugby League as a whole.
"The field is now finished and will be used by the State of Origin side soon, and when the building is complete it will provide a specialist home base for the game.
"I'm looking forward to seeing the finished product when the facility is fully operational."
The benefits from the Centre of Excellence will stretch beyond the NSWRL itself, with the University of New England (UNE), Country Rugby League, KARI and the Men of League Foundation also to be housed in the building. Arthurson believes it will help the NSWRL work with stakeholders and partners.
"It will be good to have a building which is Rugby League at all levels. Those partnerships will benefit the game and progress the NSWRL into the future."