THE NSW Government and National Rugby League were happy this week to laud a deal between the two that will see the NRL's showcase grand finals played at the Sydney Cricket Ground in both 2020 and 2021.
The alternate venue is needed because the state's premier stadium at Homebush, where the 2019 NRL grand final was played just a couple of weeks ago, is about to undergo a costly redevelopment, funded by the government (sorry, taxpayers).
The Homebush redevelopment follows the construction of a new stadium in Parramatta, funded by the government (sorry, taxpayers) and the ongoing reconstruction of Allianz Stadium at Moore Park, funded by the government (sorry, taxpayers).
But while the NRL and government call the deal a win-win, there is no shortage of losers under the arrangement.
The first losers, of course, are the millions of Queensland-based rugby league fans who have again been denied the chance to see a grand final in their home state.
Brisbane's Suncorp Stadium holds more fans than the SCG and is a rectangular ground for a rectangular field (the SCG is an oval). And so the decision to snub Suncorp was not made with the fans or the game in mind; rather, it came down to money.
Which brings us to the other losers: the NSW Government (sorry, taxpayers).
Having committed more than $2 billion to provide three state-of-the-art stadia for (primarily) the NRL, the government has reportedly chipped in an extra $16 million to keep the NRL grand final in Sydney - compensation to the NRL for the lower ticket sales available at the SCG.
It beggars belief. The NRL concedes playing two grand finals at the SCG will negatively impact on the experience for fans, but it believes it owed it to NSW to keep the games here. Yet still the government has agreed to paying compensation.
That's some deal.