Nothing inspires a rugby player to new heights of achievement as much as a sparkling new facility does, well, almost nothing, we should say, and the NSW Blues will have a new home for 2017, right alongside their ANZ Stadium home ground.
Ground was broken on Wednesday on a $20 million development that will be state-of-the-art. Whilst building is going on, the NSWRL will occupy offices at Sydney Olympic Park.
Blues’ luminaries Laurie Daley, head honcho David Trodden and Blues’ stalwart Aaron Woods helped with the preliminary excavation, giving an assist to Minister for Sport Stuart Ayers, who unabashedly admitted that he was not equal to the task of doing all the digging solo.
Plans for the centre for excellence include a playing field, office space for administrators, a world-class gymnasium, hydrotherapy treatment facility, a small museum and even a café.
The NSWRL had been bandying the idea for the facility about seemingly without end, but once all the pieces were in place, they did not dally in getting things moving along. The first stage of the project will be the new field and the office bloc.
NSWRL Chairman George Peponis outlined plans for the facility, including its use by all levels of NSW rugby and in the precinct.
The larger question is whether or not $20 million will buy the Blues a victory over the Maroons in the next Origin Series.