Newcastle’s McDonald Jones Stadium will reportedly host game three of the 2021 State of Origin series amid the ongoing lockdown in Greater Sydney.
On Wednesday morning, reports indicated the NSW government would extend the stay-at-home order by at least a week.
NSW has recorded 330 locally acquired cases since the eastern suburbs outbreak began in June thanks to the highly infectious Delta strain of Covid-19.
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Sydney Olympic Park’s Stadium Australia therefore would not be able to host the Origin finale on Wednesday, July 14.
However, The Daily Telegraph’s Dean Ritchie reported Newcastle’s McDonald Jones Stadium would get the gig instead, beating other contenders Canberra and Melbourne.
According to Ritchie’s report, the venue capacity for Origin III will be 75 per cent, ensuring a crowd of approximately 23,000.
Cameron Murray and Latrell Mitchell of the Blues.Source:Getty Images
“There has been a lot of toing and froing. I spoke to well-placed sources at the NRL who wanted Newcastle, but it was more about how many people they could get into the stadium,” Ritchie told the Big Sports Breakfast.
“There was also some financial inducement to go to the Hunter.
“They’ve nailed down that deal and the figure I’m hearing is that McDonald Jones Stadium may be 75 per cent full for Origin.
“That’s 23,000 or so that will be allowed into the game.
“If the crowd couldn’t be allowed into the stadium, Melbourne was very much still in the frame.
“That was a strong option, not forgetting they had Origin I and lost it Townsville.
“I think you’ll find it will be announced today and it will be in Newcastle.”
Meanwhile, Friday’s NRL game between South Sydney and North Queensland has also been shifted from Homebush to Newcastle, after a Covid-19 scare at Sydney’s Olympic Park made it a possible exposure site.
The Blues hold an unassailable 2-0 lead in the three-match series after securing comprehensive victories in Townsville and Brisbane.
“Major events — not just Origin, is what the people of Newcastle deserve,” Knights general manager Danny Buderus told The Daily Telegraph last week.
“The impact on the next-generation of footy fans and kids would be huge. And not just for Knights fans either, the impact would be felt right across the game.
“It would be the biggest event since Joey (Andrew Johns) crowd surfed with the Screaming Jets after the 1997 grand final.’’
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