IT’S OFFICIAL – State of Origin Game Three is on the move again and will now be played right here on the Gold Coast in a major coup for the city.
The shock move was confirmed by the NRL on Saturday night after the ARLC held an emergency meeting.
It comes after the NSW Government informed the commission that it would not allow a major event with a crowd to be held at Newcastle on Wednesday due to the state’s unfolding COVID-19 crisis.
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“While there is no community infection in Newcastle, the worsening COVID situation in Sydney over the last couple of days caused the NSW Government to believe hosting a major event in a regional community with a crowd could create additional risk to the community,” the NRL said.
The dead-rubber clash will now be played in front of more than 27,000 fans at Robina’s CBUS Stadium on the Gold Coast for the first time in the city’s history.
NRL CEO Andrew Abdo said he’s extremely disappointed for Newcastle, but admitted safety comes first.
“We are disappointed not to be able to give Newcastle the city’s first State of Origin, but we must operate within all State Public Health Orders and not having a crowd in Newcastle negates the opportunity for our fans from the region,’’ he said.
“The Gold Coast has a very low infection rate and both Origin camps are currently located within driving distance of Cbus Stadium. It means neither team will be disadvantaged by travel.”
Mr Abdo said it’s an “exciting outcome” for the Gold Coast, who will host State of Origin for the first time ever.
“The Gold Coast is an important market for us and in the current circumstances presents a safe outcome for the community and a great outcome for our fans in southeast Queensland,” he said.
“It does mean all three games are played in Queensland, but our priority is ensuring the safety of the community and the continuity of the competition.”