NRL Grand Final confirmed for Suncorp Stadium
The Queensland capital will host the season finale on Sunday October 3 due to the ongoing Covid lockdown in NSW, with game to kick-off at 6:30pm local time (7:30pm Sydney time).
All NRL finals matches are scheduled for Queensland, beginning this weekend, with matches in Townsville, Sunshine Coast and Rockhampton.
BB Print Stadium in Mackay will host both semi-finals on Friday September 17 and Saturday September 18, while both preliminary finals will be played at Suncorp Stadium on Friday September 24 and Saturday September 25.
NRL Grand Final tickets will go on sale to NRL club members from $45 on Wednesday 15 September, and to the general public from $49 on Thursday 16 September. All tickets will be sold through Suncorp Stadium’s official ticket agency – Ticketek.
There are currently no Covid-related restrictions in Queensland, meaning Suncorp Stadium can be filled to its 52,500 seating capacity.
Sydney's Stadium Australia hosted last year's grand final despite the COVID-19 pandemic, with restrictions capping capacity to 50% of the 82,500-seat venue, however no NRL games have been played in the city since early July.
Auckland’s Eden Park and Melbourne Cricket Ground were both considered for the 2021 decider, but recent outbreaks in both cities meant Suncorp Stadium became the only real viable option, ending 114-years of tradition.
While it's the first time Brisbane has hosted the NRL Grand Final, it isn't the first time the city has staged a national league season-decider, having hosted the 1997 Super League Grand Final between the Broncos and Sharks in front of 58,912 fans at QSAC - then known as ANZ Stadium - with additional seating brought in to boost capacity.
ARL Commission chairman Peter V’landys thanked the NSW and Queensland governments for their support.
“I’d like to acknowledge the New South Wales Government, in particular Premier Gladys Berejiklian, Deputy Premier John Barilaro and Minister for Tourism Stuart Ayres for working collaboratively with us to reach an outcome that ensures the health and safety of NSW residents and allows the NRL to showcase the Grand Final live to rugby league fans.”
NRL Chief Executive Andrew Abdo said the decision to play multiple finals matches in regional Queensland rewarded grassroots fans who would not normally be able to attend finals matches.
“Rugby League is part of the DNA of regional Queensland. A number of towns have played a key role in keeping the competition going and we want to reward those fans and councils for their support of rugby league. From every challenge comes an opportunity and this year has presented us with an opportunity to reward regional Queenslanders with finals games,’’ he said.
The news follows the AFL's announcement last week that the 2021 AFL Grand Final will be played at Perth's Optus Stadium, which is the second consecutive year the game has been played away from Melbourne.