Origin euphoria for Townsville
Queensland Country Bank Stadium will host the June 9 series opener after Victoria’s COVID-19 outbreak forced a venue change from Melbourne.
Townsville Enterprise said the event would inject $5 million into the local economy and cement the city’s position as a major events destination.
Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said she was delighted to see negotiations with the NRL reach success.
“We saw what Magic Round did for Brisbane,” Ms Palaszczuk said.
“Hotels, pubs and restaurants were filled and cabbies reported their busiest weekend since COVID.
“That’s what we expect to happen in and around Townsville as fans flock to this historic event.”
She said 10 B-double trucks were on standby to take temporary grandstands to Country Bank Stadium to lift its capacity from 25,455 seats to 27,327.
Giant screens will be erected in Flinders Street to cope with the overflow with bands and entertainment for the entire family.
NRL chief executive officer Andrew Abdo said fairness for both State of Origin teams was factored into the decision to move the series opener from Melbourne to Townsville.
“The primary driver for this [switch to Townsville] is the continuity of the competition and the least amount of biosecurity risk given all the variables that we face at the moment,” he said.
“In terms of football fairness, there are multiple elements to that. We alternate every year [with] NSW and Queensland being guaranteed a live game.”
Tickets for the Townsville clash will go on sale to Cowboys members, Maroon members and Blatchys Blues at 1pm on Wednesday. General admission tickets will be available at 3pm on Wednesday from $49 via nrl.com/tickets.
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