Souths at ANZ for now but weigh up future

South Sydney will be back playing their NRL home games in 2020 at ANZ Stadium from next month.
South Sydney will be back playing their NRL home games in 2020 at ANZ Stadium from next month.

South Sydney will return to ANZ Stadium for the rest of this year but are still keeping their long-term options open on a permanent NRL home ground.

The Rabbitohs confirmed on Thursday their final five home games of this season would be played at the Sydney Olympic Park venue starting next month, rather than Bankwest Stadium.

However, they have not committed beyond the end of 2020, after both they and Canterbury were left frustrated by the abandoned redevelopment of ANZ Stadium.

Under the initial plans, Souths were due to play out of Bankwest Stadium for two seasons during the redevelopment period.

The cancellation of that project prompted Rabbitohs officials to conduct a survey of fans to gauge their preferred home venue.

Among the options was a return to Moore Park once the new stadium is complete, ANZ Stadium, or a mix between venues.

It's understood talks are continuing with the NRL and state government over Souths' long-term home

In the short-term, ANZ is by far the best option given they will be able to have 10,000 fans attend under current COVID restrictions.

The move also makes for a boost in corporate numbers, and the potential to go back to regular sized crowds if and when the next stage of restrictions are lifted.

"We also hope that venue capacity restrictions will continue to lift in coming months," chief executive Blake Solly said.

"(That will) help us attract bigger crowds for our important late-in-season matches against the Storm, Bulldogs and Roosters."

Canterbury are yet to confirm where they will play their home games for the rest of the year, with only their next clash against Parramatta confirmed for ANZ Stadium on August 2.

Long-term they still hold hopes of having a home ground redeveloped at Belmore or Liverpool, as they weigh up their options.

They hold a long-term deal with the NSW government for games to be at ANZ Stadium or Bankwest, but a survey with fans still remains open that also lists Belmore.

Souths will host Newcastle at Bankwest on Saturday before the switch back to ANZ commences in round 13 when they host Brisbane.

Australian Associated Press