The Gold Coast will host Ampol State of Origin III on Wednesday night after the ARLC was advised by the NSW Government on Saturday that it would not allow a major event with a crowd to be held in Newcastle next Wednesday.
The NSW Government was ensuring the current outbreak does not spread to regional NSW and while there is no community infection in Newcastle, the worsening COVID situation in Sydney caused the NSW Government to believe hosting a major event in a regional community with a crowd could create additional risk to the community.
Given that there would be no live crowd permitted at McDonald Jones Stadium the Commission held an emergency meeting and decided to move the match interstate to ensure a viable event and live match atmosphere as NSW chase a clean sweep in the series.
Gold Coast will host an Origin match for the first time in the city’s history and a capacity crowd of over 27,000 will be allowed to attend.
“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,’’ NRL CEO Andrew Abdo 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.
“This is an exciting outcome for the Gold Coast. It will be the first time in history that the Gold Coast has hosted State of Origin.
“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.
“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.”