MOVING ON: NSW Blues captain Paul Gallen during a clinic for junior players in Coffs Harbour.
MOVING ON: NSW Blues captain Paul Gallen during a clinic for junior players in Coffs Harbour. Trevor Veale

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.



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