The NRL Grand Final continues as scheduled in Brisbane, after no new coronavirus cases were recorded in the city on Sunday morning.
It was feared the match would have to be moved to Townsville after already having to move from its traditional home in Sydney, with Channel Nine being advised by the NRL to prepare for a final in North Queensland.
There were even suggestions that the match could be postponed for a week with a possible return to Sydney at stake.
The community’s zero transfers see 39,000 fans pack up at Suncorp Stadium on Sunday night to watch the Sydney final as the Penrith Panthers face the South Sydney Rabbitohs.
“It’s 100 miles per hour, full throttle and all systems are going for a grand finale at Suncorp Stadium,” said NRL chief executive Peter V’landys.
The NRL Grand Final continues as scheduled in Brisbane, after no new coronavirus cases were recorded in the city on Sunday morning
The zero community transfers see 39,000 fans pack Suncorp Stadium on Sunday night to watch the all-Sydney final as the Penrith Panthers play the South Sydney Rabbitohs
There were serious doubts all week that the game would be played all week in the QLD capital as an airline worker and truck driver who tested positive in the state.
Their close contacts also yielded positive Covid results, with cases moving towards double digits on Thursday and the realistic possibility of the NRL Grand Final being rescheduled or postponed on Sunday.
Annastacia Palaszczuk announced that the stadium’s 54,000 capacity would be capped at 75 percent for the final, but the match would go ahead as scheduled in Brisbane.
The prime minister said on Sunday morning that she herself planned to attend the match, but only if no new cases emerged that afternoon.
“May I tell those in attendance that you must check in at the stadium, wear your mask there and only take off your mask when you are sitting when you are eating or drinking,” she said.
“That doesn’t mean you sit there with a beer and only have the mask when you drink.
“We need to do this to keep everyone safe, so I’m making it very clear that these are the conditions Dr. Young are asked. And I expect that from everyone.’
Channel Nine commentator and NRL legend Phil Gould questioned the difference in allowing 39,000 or the full 54,000 at the game.
Can someone explain to me the difference between 100 percent and 75 percent attendance at the GF, in regards to Covid management? I really mean it?’ he posted on Twitter.
‘What is it doing for Covid management? I’d say absolutely zero.’
Channel Nine commentator and NRL legend Phil Gould questioned the difference in allowing 39,000 or the full 54,000 at the game
Prime Minister Annastacia Palaszczuk announced that the stadium’s 54,000 capacity would be capped at 75 percent for the final, but the match would go ahead as scheduled in Brisbane
The game looked likely to move from Townsville to Queensland Country Bank Stadium, the Cowboys’ brand new arena that hosted finals and even played Wallabies and All Blacks in the Rugby Championship.
However, in cases in Townsville, there was also speculation that the NRL was exploring the possibility of postponing the game and playing in Sydney when the lockdown is lifted from October 11.
“If there was a quick lockdown on Sunday, we would have to make a quick decision because we don’t want to play a big final in an empty stadium at Suncorp,” V’landys said on Saturday.
“Then everything is on the table, including postponing the grand final and possibly playing in Townsville.
“But I would love nothing more than to see a historic grand final in front of 39,000 fans at Suncorp on Sunday night.
“We owe it to the Queensland Government and the people of Queensland for their tremendous support.”
South Sydney fans pose at a fan event leading up to Sunday’s 2021 NRL Grand Final
Queensland’s success in suppressing the latest outbreak will see Brisbane host its first-ever grand final instead.
The Panthers shocked the Storm with a stubborn defense attempt in their preliminary final at Suncorp last week to secure their place in the final, the club’s first since beating the Roosters in the 2003 GF.
South Sydney are looking for their second premiership since returning to competition under the leadership of Russell Crowe after lifting the trophy in 2014.