Face paint, green hair and PLENTY of skin: Footy fans flock to Suncorp Stadium as the NRL Grand Final is played away from Sydney for the first time – here’s everything you need to know about rugby league’s biggest night
- NRL grand final between Penrith Panthers & South Sydney Rabbitohs played outside Sydney for the first time
- 39,000 footy fans making their way to Brisbane’s Suncorp Stadium ahead of 7.30pm AEST kick-off
Thousands of footy fans have made their way to Suncorp Stadium on a historic night for the NRL.
The grand final between South Sydney Rabbitohs and Penrith Panthers is the first time the NRL decider has been played outside Sydney.
A reduced crowd of 39,000 footy fans will fill Brisbane’s Suncorp Stadium after 13,000 ticket-holders were locked out earlier in the week due to the Queensland’s latest Covid-19 outbreak.
There is plenty of support for both Sydney clubs in the stands as footy fans donning team jerseys, flags, face masks and banners arrive in their droves.
Many took advantage of a pop up clinic set up outside the ground to help boost the state’s lagging vaccination rates.
The big game kicks off kicks off 7.30pm AEST, 6.30pm Queensland time
Country music singer and Souths fan Missy Lancaster hopes to be toasting a 22nd premiership later on Sunday night
Fans have already arrived at Suncorp Stadium for Sunday night’s NRL grand final
Club mascots Paws and Reggie Rabbit arrived at Suncorp Stadium early to mingle with Panthers and Rabbitohs fans
Queensland rugby league supporters have arrived in good spirits, despite going for rival clubs
Players from both clubs have left their hotels and arrived at the stadium 90 minutes prior to kick off..
Earlier in the day, Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk confirmed she’ll likely attend and issued a warning to other footy fans.
‘As long as there are no issues that arise this afternoon it’s my intention to attend,’ she told reporters on Sunday.
‘Can I say to people who are attending, you have to check into the stadium, you have to wear your mask in there and you can only remove your mask when you are seated if you are eating or drinking.
‘That doesn’t mean sitting there with a beer and having the mask, only when you are drinking.’
This South Sydney fan decked out in Rabbitohs colours had a message for her mum
Penrith Panthers fans Ru and Caitlin (right) will be cheering on their team back home in western Sydney
Many footy fans in Brisbane enjoyed a pre-match drink or two before heading to the game
Face masks are a must-have accessory for the 39,000 fans attending the grand final at Suncorp Stadium
Penrith Panthers fan Shane Binns took advantage of a pop up vaccination clinic set up outside Suncorp Stadium
Back home in Sydney, thousands of Rabbitohs and Panthers fans are proudly donning their club jerseys and decked out their homes in team colours.
But grand final celebrations will be low key with Sydneysiders holed up in three months of lockdown under stay at home orders for another week.
The Panthers go into the grand final as hot favourites, despite losing to Souths three weeks ago in week one of the final.
Rabbitohs stars Adam Reynolds, Dane Gagai and Benji Marshall hope to finish their stints at the club on the high, while departing coach Wayne Bennett hopes to leave with a 10th premiership.
The Panthers hope to win their third premiership after previous success in 1991 and 2003.
The Rabbitohs are eyeing off their 22nd title, the last being in 2014.
More to come.
This Penrith Panthers fan at Suncorp Stadium pledged her support for halfback Nathan Cleary
This Rabbitohs fan had a message for departing Rabbitoh figures Adam Reynolds, Dan Gagai, Benji Marshall and coach Wayne Bennett