The NRL Grand Final will go ahead in Brisbane as planned after no new coronavirus cases were recorded in the city on Sunday morning.
There were fears the game would have to be moved to Townsville after already having to relocate from its traditional home in Sydney, with broadcaster Channel Nine being advised by the NRL to prepare for a north Queensland finale.
There were even suggestions the game could be delayed a week with a potential return to Sydney on the cards.
The zero community transfers will ensure 39,000 fans pack Suncorp Stadium on Sunday evening to watch the all-Sydney final as the Penrith Panthers play the South Sydney Rabbitohs.
‘It’s 100 miles an hour, full-steam ahead and all systems go for a Suncorp Stadium grand final,’ NRL chief executive Peter V’landys said.
The NRL Grand Final will go ahead in Brisbane as planned after no news coronavirus cases were recorded in the city on Sunday morning
The zero community transfers will ensure 39,000 fans pack Suncorp Stadium on Sunday evening to watch the all-Sydney final as the Penrith Panthers play the South Sydney Rabbitohs
There were severe doubts through the week the game would be played in the QLD capital through the week as an aviation worker and truck driver who had been in the state tested positive.
Their close contacts also returned positive Covid results, with cases pushing towards double figures on Thursday and the realistic possibility of the NRL Grand Final being moved or postponed on Sunday.
Annastacia Palaszczuk announced the stadium’s 54,000 capacity would be capped at 75 per cent for the finale, but the game would go ahead in Brisbane as planned.
The premier on Sunday morning said she herself planned to attend the match, but only if no new cases emerged that afternoon.
‘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,’ she said.
‘That doesn’t mean sitting there with a beer and having the mask only when you are drinking.
‘We have to do this to keep everyone safe so I am making it very clear that these are the conditions that have been put on by Dr Young. And that is what I expect everyone to do.’
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 please explain to me the difference between 100 per cent and 75 per cent attendance at the GF, with regards to Covid management? I mean, really?’ he posted to Twitter.
‘What does it do 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
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk announced the stadium’s 54,000 capacity would be capped at 75 per cent for the finale, but the game would go ahead in Brisbane as planned
The game looked likely to either move to Townsville to Queensland Country Bank Stadium, the Cowboys’ brand new arena which hosted finals games and has even fielded Wallabies and All Blacks fixtures in the Rugby Championship.
However, cases in Townsville also saw speculation the NRL were looking at the potential to postpone the game and play it in Sydney when lockdown lifts from October 11.
‘If there was a snap lockdown on Sunday, then we would have to make a quick decision because we don’t want to be playing a grand final in an empty stadium at Suncorp,’ V’landys said Saturday.
‘In that case, everything is on the table, including postponing the grand final and possibly playing it 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 Queensland people for their wonderful support.’
South Sydney fans pose at a fan event in the buildup to the 2021 NRL Grand Final on Sunday
Queensland’s success at suppressing the latest outbreak will instead see Brisbane host its first ever Grand Final.
The Panthers shocked the Storm with a stubborn defensive effort in their preliminary final at Suncorp last week to book their place in the final, the club’s first since they beat the Roosters in the 2003 GF.
South Sydney will look for their second premiership since returning to the competition under the leadership of Russell Crowe after lifting the trophy in 2014.