Coffs Coast sidelined by NSW Blues
COFFS Harbour is set to lose hosting rights of NSW Blues training camps following the announcement of a planned multi-million-dollar rugby training facility in Sydney.
NSW Rugby League this week unveiled plans for the $20 million Centre of Excellence next to ANZ Stadium that is expected to be up-and-running by late-2017 in time for the 2018 State of Origin series.
The announcement has delivered a blow to Coffs Harbour which has hosted the NSW squad at Novotel's Elite Training Facility for the past two years, inspiring the region's unofficial nickname - "Blues Harbour".
NSW coach Laurie Daley said the new complex would provide the team with a permanent training base.
"Coffs Harbour has been terrific and we're going back there next year and it's certainly been great for us," he said.
"But to have our own purpose-built facility will give us a better chance to have success (and) it takes us into a new sphere because we've never really had a home."
While the announcement is disappointing for Blues supporters in the region, Novotel executive assistant manager Jodie Evans said work was also under way to bring other high-profile sporting teams to the facility.
This includes FFA squads and a proposal put to Cricket Australia for Coffs Harbour to host test matches. Talks are also under way for hosting the NSW Blues in 2017 - apart from the training camp.