After days of speculation, the location for State of Origin Game Three has finally been confirmed.
Despite both Melbourne and the Gold Coast throwing their hats in the ring to host the dead-rubber clash, Newcastle has emerged as the victor.
It comes after the match was forced to move from Sydney due to the unfolding COVID-19 situation and lockdown being extended.
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NRL CEO Andrew Abdo said next Wednesday’s game will create history, with Newcastle hosting the series for the first time in the Origin era.
“This is a reward for the people of Newcastle and Hunter region,” he said.
“These fans are among the most passionate fans in our game. They turn out and support the Knights every week and we are excited to bring Ampol State of Origin to Newcastle.
“One of the positives to come from the pandemic has been the opportunity to give passionate rugby league communities like Newcastle and Townsville the chance to host Origin when they otherwise wouldn’t.”
🚨 Attention, Newcastle: #Origin is coming to you!
Witness this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity when the Ampol State of Origin is hosted at McDonald Jones Stadium on July 14. Tickets on sale Monday!
— NRL (@NRL) July 7, 2021
Mr Abdo said the decision was based on the safety of both players and fans.
“There’s currently no community transmission in Newcastle and it represents a safe option for both our players and the community,” he said.
“I would like to thank both state teams for their patience in allowing us to secure a safe venue with the capability of a passionate crowd.”
Despite the game being held in NSW, fans from Greater Sydney, including the Blue Mountains, Central Coast, Wollongong and Shellharbour will not be allowed to attend as they remain under lockdown.
Tickets to the clash at Newcastle’s McDonald Jones Stadium will be available to QRL, NSWRL and Knights members at 9am on Monday.
Those on the NRL waitlist will be able to hop online from 10am, while general public tickets will be available from 11am.