Suncorp to go the whole nine yards for tournament
SUNCORP Stadium is open for business as a potential host of the revived World Nines rugby league tournament in 2019.
The Rugby League International Federation last week said there had been expressions of interest for a tournament involving national teams from at least 16 nations and the plan is for the first to be played in Australia.
Suncorp Stadium general manager Alan Graham said the operators of the stadium would “definitely be interested’’ in discussing the event when RLIF heavyweights converge on Brisbane in two weeks for the first World Cup semi-final.
Tourism and Events Queensland and the Suncorp Stadium bosses have worked well in recent years to secure big sporting events for the state.
“We’ve shown with the (2017 rugby union) Global Tens that we are well set up to host a tournament like that with lots of teams,’’ Graham said yesterday.
“It’s a new competition we would need to ask questions about and they (the RLIF officials) will be in Brisbane for the semi-final and the final of the World Cup. It’s a question of timing as well.’’
Suncorp Stadium would be the safest bet for the RLIF to revive the Nines concept which was played in Townsville and Suva in the 1990s.
Brisbane’s track record for big-event league crowds speaks for itself and the stadium’s nearby entertainment precinct add to the party atmosphere which enhances tournaments in Sevens and Nines football in the two rugby codes.
Graham said he did not know whether the RLIF were planning it as a pre-season tournament or a late-2019 attraction.
The Australian and British leagues are well advanced in planning for October and November 2019, when the Lions tour Australia for a three-Test series along traditional Ashes rugby league lines.
To play a World Nines in the pre-season in 2019 would seem to be another barrier to the continuity of the NRL Nines concept, which is on hold next February due to the late finish of the World Cup.
CHARGING: Samoa’s Bunty Afoa is tackled by Scot Oscar Thomas. Picture: Getty Images
WE’RE READY: Alan Graham.