Queensland has well and truly cemented itself as the new home of Rugby League, with confirmation this year’s NRL grand final will be played right here in the Sunshine State.
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk confirmed the exciting news at a press conference a short time ago, revealing the showdown will be played at Brisbane’s iconic Suncorp Stadium.
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“This is about the NRL’s commitment to all of Queensland, how much this state loves its footy and just as we helped out the AFL last year, we are very pleased to step up and help out this year”.
It will be the first time in more than 114 years that the grand final has been played outside of Sydney.
The decision comes after the sporting code was forced to shift camp to Queensland due to the unfolding COVID-19 crisis in both NSW and Victoria.
All teams have called the Sunshine State home since July, with special hubs set up on the Gold Coast, Sunshine Coast and Brisbane to ensure the competition can continue.
The relocation of the grand final is a huge win for Queensland, with the decider expected to inject $20 million into the state’s economy.
It comes after Queensland this year hosted all three State of Origin games for the first time ever, also due to the virus outbreak in the southern states.
“This year we will create history, playing the Grand Final in Brisbane for the very first time,” Rugby League Commission Chairman Peter V’landys said.
“This will be an historic moment for the city and a reward for the support the Queensland community has given us throughout 2021.
“This year will always be remembered as the year Queensland hosted all of our major events; All Stars, Magic Round, 3 State of Origins and the Grand Final.”
The NSW Government said it was “disappointed” to lose the event, but admitted there was no way it could go ahead as the pandemic continues to ravage the state.
“Due to the current COVID-19 situation in Greater Sydney and across the state, the NSW Government has informed the NRL that unfortunately New South Wales is unable to host the 2021 NRL Premiership Grand Final on Sunday 3 October,” NSW Minister for Tourism Stuart Ayers said.
“While it is very disappointing to miss out on this marquee event, it reinforces the importance of our community getting vaccinated so that events like the NRL Grand Final with crowds can safely return to our stadiums as soon as possible.”
The top eight teams currently fighting to play in the October 3 showdown include the Melbourne Storm, Penrith Panthers, Sydney Roosters, South Sydney Rabbitohs, Gold Coast Titans, Manly Sea Eagles, Newcastle Knights and Parramatta Eels.
The Storm enter the finals as Minor Premiers after downing the Cronulla Sharks last Friday night.
In even more good news for local footy fans, the Queensland Government has announced it’s also secured the Magic Round for an additional year.
2021 NRL Finals Schedule:
Friday 10 September – Sunshine Coast
Saturday 11 September – Queensland Country Bank Stadium (doubleheader)
Sunday 12 September – Rockhampton
Friday 17 September – Mackay
Saturday 18 September – Mackay
Friday 24 September – Suncorp Stadium
Saturday 25 September – Suncorp Stadium
Sunday 3 October – Suncorp Stadium Grand Final