Final preparations including temporary grandstands for Townsville Origin
Final preparations are underway to transform Queensland Country Bank Stadium ahead of Wednesday night’s State of Origin opener, including completion of the temporary grandstands.
Temporary grandstands have been erected at the northern end of the stadium, boosting its capacity up to almost 28,000 for the series opener which was relocated from the Melbourne Cricket Ground due to Victoria’s Covid lockdown.
The additional 2,000 tickets went on sale today and were quickly snapped up ensuring a sell-out for the big game. The news comes as game 2 of the series at the 52,000-capacity Suncorp Stadium has also sold out. Game 3 will be held at Stadium Australia.
Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said securing major events like the State of Origin opener in Townsville was an important part of the government’s economic recovery plan.
“State of Origin will be the most significant sporting event Townsville has ever seen,” she said.
“Major events inject millions of dollars into our economy and support local jobs.
“It’s not just about the footy. This event and the festival of footy we’ve built around the State of Origin opener will support our economic recovery efforts in Townsville.
“Virgin has added eight extra flights, hotels and Airbnbs are fully booked, up to 1000 staff have been rostered on to work at the stadium and tourism providers have had a huge response from fans keen to extend their stay and enjoy a holiday in North Queensland.”
Forty-eight trucks of supplies have been ordered for State of Origin one, including 12,000 pies, 750kg of North Queensland beef, 4,000 kilograms of cheese, 15,500 litres of beer and more than 500 litres of Bundaberg rum.
Tourism and Sport Minister Stirling Hinchliffe said Townsville’s history-making State of Origin showed how important major events are to tourism.
“The Palaszczuk Government built Queensland Country Bank Stadium for sport and also the support it can deliver to Townsville’s tourism economy,” Mr Hinchliffe said.
“Already we’ve seen accommodation sold out and entertainment precincts pop up, which is great news for tourism operators across the city.
Mr Hinchliffe also said the grandstand fit-out was the culmination of a precision operation.
“The logistics of hauling steel parts almost 1,400 kilometres to Townsville and dropping the grandstands into place have come together like clockwork,” Mr Hinchliffe said.
“Getting the job done at short notice, without a hitch, is a great credit to the team at Clifton Productions.
“Upsizing seating for Townsville’s historic State of Origin demonstrates the clever design built into Queensland Country Bank Stadium and Queensland’s ability to host major events anywhere in the state.”
Resources Minister and Member for Townsville Scott Stewart said the event would be the biggest the stadium has ever hosted.
“Origin is the biggest thing Townsville has ever seen and the whole town has been working hard to make it an unforgettable event,” Mr Stewart said.
“That’s why we built the stadium, to bring major events to the city, which helps support jobs and the economy,” he said.
Member for Mundingburra Les Walker said having State of Origin in Townsville would give the city’s economy a major boost.
“This is going to be a fantastic event for fans, and of course the wider economy, which is likely to be boosted by $7 million thanks to flow-on benefits to the local bars, restaurants and hotels.”
Member for Thuringowa Aaron Harper said there was a real buzz in Townville ahead of Wednesday’s game.
“This is fantastic for Townsville and will help highlight the city on the national stage,” he said.
Queensland Country Bank Stadium Manager Tom Kimball said staff were working around the clock to pull off the event at short notice.
“This is real pinch yourself stuff and a dream come true for the venue and the passionate local fans and we’re counting down to kick-off,” Mr Kimball said.
“It’s been a fast and furious past few days preparing for the event, which requires 2,100 additional seats, 40 additional toilets, nearly a kilometre of fencing wrap, 10 pallets of merchandise, and three trucks of extra corporate furniture, but we’re ready to go!” he said.
Pandanus Catering venue manager Ben Wright said additional catering staff had been rostered on to help with demand.
“It’s a huge event with around 82 functions and 34 outlets to cater for, so we’ve got our full team on deck, including about 800 hospitality staff, 30 chefs and 40 cooks, all looking forward to this once in a lifetime event,” Mr Wright said.
Grounds Manager Bruce Fouracre said the field was in top condition ahead of the match.
“The field got a hammering in recent months with loads of content, but the planets aligned with the Cowboys getting a bye this weekend and training on their new field, so the turf has had a bit of a rest,” Mr Fouracre said.
“I’ve just been letting it sunbake, and with tomorrow forecast to be mostly sunny and 27 degrees, it’ll be ideal playing and viewing conditions for Origin!” he said.
Gates open at 6:30pm with live entertainment from 7:35pm and kick off at 8:10pm. View full event details here >