NSW’s task of winning this year’s State of Origin series just got tougher with Suncorp Stadium set to be at 100 per cent capacity for next week’s decider.
Queensland premier Annastacia Palasczcuk revealed on Friday her government was easing several COVID-19 restrictions from 4pm on Tuesday, including the limit on open-air stadiums to operate at 75 per cent capacity.
The decision means an extra 12,500 fans will be allowed to attend Wednesday’s Game 3 with a potential attendance of 52,500.
That figure will be the largest sporting attendance since the COVID-19 pandemic shut down several sporting codes in March.
Currently the biggest crowd since the pandemic hit was the 37,303 fans who attended this year’s NRL grand final in Sydney.
Last weekend’s Bledisloe Cup match in Brisbane between Australia and New Zealand had a crowd of 36,000 at Suncorp Stadium.
“I think Queenslanders are going to be very, very happy with this outcome,” Palaszczuk told reporters.
“Let’s fill Suncorp and cheer our mighty Maroons on.”
The NRL has confirmed all seats will be made available for Wednesday’s match with 2000 tickets to be gifted to front-line healthcare workers and emergency services personnel.
“It has been an extraordinary season and remarkable that our final game of the year will be an Origin decider with no crowd cap,” NRL chief executive Anthony Abdo said.
“It’s amazing to think how far the game has come since the competition was suspended in March.”
With the borders closed between NSW and Queensland, Blues fans will be in the minority at the venue, where NSW have won just twice since 2010.
Despite their impressive record at Suncorp Stadium, with 37 wins from 58 Origins at the ground, Maroons utility Ben Hunt says the venue won’t decide the game.
“We need to go up a level for sure,” Hunt said.
“We were nowhere near where we needed to be (in Sydney), so yeah we need to improve a hell of a lot.
“We can’t just rely on the crowd.”