A three-year deal which was to see the Cronulla Sharks play their NRL home games in Taupo has fallen through after just one game.
Last year, the Australian league club's chairman, Damian Irvine, signed a three-year deal for the Sharks to play home matches against the New Zealand Warriors at Taupo's Owen Delany Park.
Sharks spokesman Rob Willis has confirmed the team won't be playing any games in Taupo this season. He said he was not sure why.
Taupo Mayor Rick Cooper was disappointed with the news. "At the end of the day, you can't make these people come. Hopefully, it will come back at some time," he said.
More than 14,500 people turned out last year to the town's first NRL match and organisers from Kickit Events were rapt. Roxi Douglas, from Kickit Events, did not return calls yesterday but Taupo district events manager, Nick Reader, said it was a shame the team would not be back this year.
"We would love to have them back at any time."
Mr Reader said it was the Taupo District Council's role to provide the venue and be good hosts but it was up to the commercial event operators to actually run the event.
Despite losing the Sharks game, the events industry in Taupo was "really pumping" and still had plenty to look forward to, including the Oceania Olympic Football qualifier matches, he said.