The Queensland Reds have secured the future of two important forwards with captain Liam Wright and Angus Scott-Young signing new deals.
Ballymore’s long wait for an upgrade is a step closer after a $15 million pre-election state government promise that would see Brisbane rugby’s heartland become the home of the Wallaroos.
The Australian women’s rugby team would join the Queensland Reds at the $30 million National Rugby Training Centre to give the once-proud venue new life after years of decay.
The venue could host multiple sports if Brisbane’s 2032 Olympic bid is successful and also bolster Australia’s 2027 Rugby World Cup hosting hopes and act as a training base for the Wallabies or touring Test nations.
Ballymore will feature an integrated stand to replace the existing McLean Stand, which was first built in the 1968 and extended in the 1970s, as well as men’s and women’s changerooms and recovery facilities.
In 2007, then Prime Minister John Howard guaranteed a $25 million funding commitment, only for the project to be canned the following year by Kevin Rudd after Labor won the federal election.
Now with support from both sides at a federal level, a Palaszczuk government victory later this year will see construction begin in April 2021.
“Rugby in Queensland is incredibly strong, with growth in all forms of the game,” Rugby Australia chairman Hamish McLennan said.
“The NRTC is an exciting project, providing a world-class facility with warmer temperatures as the new home of the Wallaroos.
“It is a major coup for Queensland, which is establishing itself as a national centre of excellence not just for rugby, but for many other major sports including cricket and netball.”
QRU boss David Hanham said the commitment was “the culmination of many years of work by the QRU” and would allow women’s rugby to thrive in the state.
“Queensland now has more than 16,000 women and girls playing the game in Queensland and that’s expected to double in coming years,” he said.