Covid Australia NRL Grand Final Plan B Rugby league bosses fret on move from Brisbane to Townsville


NRL chiefs are preparing to pull the trigger on a back up plan to move the Grand Final 1300km from Suncorp Stadium to Townsville’s Country Bank Stadium.

Six new cases in Brisbane – including three who were active in the community – have put the Queensland capital on edge just days away from Sunday’s season decider.

South Sydney Rabbitohs are set to face down Penrith Panthers in their battle to lift the Provan-Summons Trophy, with kick off scheduled for 7.30pm AEDT. 

The NRL already had contingency plans drawn up for a switch of venue if Brisbane was hit by a surprise outbreak ahead of the match.

But the sport’s powerbrokers are reluctant to make the move unless absolutely necessary because of the upheaval involved.

Kate Miller-Heidke (pictured) is set to sing the national anthem and be part of the grand final matchday entertainment which could need to be relocated to Townsville at short notice

Kate Miller-Heidke (pictured) is set to sing the national anthem and be part of the grand final matchday entertainment which could need to be relocated to Townsville at short notice

NRL chiefs have their finger poised to pull the trigger on a back up plan to move the Grand Final 1300km from Suncorp Stadium to Townsville's Country Bank Stadium (pictured)

NRL chiefs have their finger poised to pull the trigger on a back up plan to move the Grand Final 1300km from Suncorp Stadium to Townsville’s Country Bank Stadium (pictured)

Six new cases in Brisbane have put the Queensland capital on edge just days away from Sunday's season decider at Suncorp Stadium (pictured)

Six new cases in Brisbane have put the Queensland capital on edge just days away from Sunday’s season decider at Suncorp Stadium (pictured)

As well as being 1300km away, the newly-opened Townsville venue only holds 25,000 people compared to the 52,000 capacity Suncorp Stadium which is sold out.

A refund on 27,000 tickets could cost the cash-strapped NRL around $2.5million in lost revenue, as well as throwing the plans of fans and teams into chaos.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said on Monday she had yet to hear from the NRL on a possible change of venue.

‘There has been no discussions,’ she insisted. ‘Can I tell you, when my phone rings, I’ll be updating people, but there was no concern at the moment.’

The newly-opened Townsville venue only holds 25,000 compared to the 52,000 capacity Suncorp Stadium which is sold out. (Pictured, Souths fans at Suncorp last weekend)

The newly-opened Townsville venue only holds 25,000 compared to the 52,000 capacity Suncorp Stadium which is sold out. (Pictured, Souths fans at Suncorp last weekend)

Fans may need to fly 1300km to see the grand final in Townsville if NRL chiefs pull the trigger. (Pictured, Panthers fans at Suncorp Stadium last weekend)

Fans may need to fly 1300km to see the grand final in Townsville if NRL chiefs pull the trigger. (Pictured, Panthers fans at Suncorp Stadium last weekend)

The NRL has a host of celebrities lined up for the grand final entertainment who will also need to be moved north in time for the game. 

Kate Miller-Heidke is set to sing the national anthem and will join Ian Moss, DJs The Stafford Brothers and Timmy Trumpet, didgeridoo player William Barton and a 40-piece orchestra as the matchday entertainment.

Daily Mail Australia has contacted the NRL for comment.

The scare comes as investigations continue into how far the disease has spread through the community in the wake of the discovery of the new cases.

Veteran Aussie rocker Ian Moss (pictured) is one of the star attractions for the grand final

Veteran Aussie rocker Ian Moss (pictured) is one of the star attractions for the grand final

Didgeridoo player William Barton (pictured) and a 40-piece orchestra are also set to star at the grand final

Didgeridoo player William Barton (pictured) and a 40-piece orchestra are also set to star at the grand final

DJ and producer Timmy Trumpet (pictured) was also set to wow the grand final crowd

DJ and producer Timmy Trumpet (pictured) was also set to wow the grand final crowd 

One of the six new cases, a truck driver, is believe to have been infected in the community for eight days before he developed flu-like symptoms and tested positive.

Contact tracers are still working with him to retrace his steps and identify possible exposure sites, but health officials fear there may be many locations involved.

‘He’s stayed in three different places, two hotels in Spring Hill, and a boarding house in Stevens Road in South Brisbane,’ revealed Queensland chief medical officer Dr Jeanette Young.

‘We’re working through with the managers of those three facilities as to who else was in those accommodation venues while he was there, and organising quarantine for all of those people.

The scare comes as investigations continue into how far the disease has spread through the community in the wake of the discovery of the new cases. (Pictured, a queue for vaccination at a hub in Brisbane)

The scare comes as investigations continue into how far the disease has spread through the community in the wake of the discovery of the new cases. (Pictured, a queue for vaccination at a hub in Brisbane)

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk (pictured) said on Monday she had yet to hear from the NRL on a possible change of venue

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk (pictured) said on Monday she had yet to hear from the NRL on a possible change of venue

‘We’re continuing to work with him as to what are the sites he’s been at while infectious but there’s been a number that we’ve already been made aware of.’

An aviation industry worker – who has not been overseas or knowingly in contact with anyone infected – and his wife have also tested positive, sparking alerts at four locations in the city, including a childcare centre and a McDonalds.

Two more cases were acquired overseas and in hotel quarantine, and the sixth cases was a traveller who had just come out of hotel quarantine before testing positive.

A refund on 27,000 tickets could cost the cash-strapped NRL around $2.5million in lost revenue, as well as throwing the plans of fans and teams into chaos. (Pictured, Penrith Panthers celebrate a spot at the grand final)

A refund on 27,000 tickets could cost the cash-strapped NRL around $2.5million in lost revenue, as well as throwing the plans of fans and teams into chaos. (Pictured, Penrith Panthers celebrate a spot at the grand final)

However health officials said they were checking the test result for a possible false positive in that case.

The state government has reimposed mandatory masks indoors, including at stadiums, in the Brisbane and Moreton Bay area in response to the new cases.

First dose vaccinations will also now be mandatory for truck drivers using the state’s freight pass by October 15, with double-jabs needed for drivers by November 15. 

The sport's powerbrokers are reluctant to make the move unless absolutely necessary because of the upheaval involved. (Pictured, Sydney Souths celebrate a try at Suncorp Stadium)

The sport’s powerbrokers are reluctant to make the move unless absolutely necessary because of the upheaval involved. (Pictured, Sydney Souths celebrate a try at Suncorp Stadium)



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