World news – AU – Gabba trial could lead to 40,000 fans at State of Origin games


About 40,000 NRL fans will be allowed through the gates for State of Origin matches in Queensland and NSW as both states relax capacity rules at their major stadiums.

The series will kick off in Adelaide on November 4, for the first time ever, before heading to Sydney for game II on November 11.

About 40,000 fans will be allowed to watch State of Origin games in NSW and Queensland. Credit:Matt King

ANZ Stadium in Sydney will be allowed to fill to 50 per cent capacity, meaning about 40,000 fans will be able to cheer on the NSW Blues.

About the same number of supporters will be permitted inside Brisbane’s Suncorp Stadium for game III on November 18.

The Queensland government was expected to allow Suncorp to be filled to 75 per cent of its 52,500 capacity.

The current threshold limits crowds to 50 per cent capacity in Queensland, but that was expected to be relaxed following a COVID-19 trial at the Gabba in Brisbane on Monday night.

« If the trial at the Gabba is effective, it’s not just the AFL grand final that will benefit – we could see the same rules applied to the NRL State of Origin in November, » Deputy Premier Steven Miles told Brisbane Times.

But Blues fans could be few and far between for the series final, with Queensland’s chief health officer sticking to the strict trigger for opening borders.

Dr Jeannette Young said NSW would have to record 28 days straight without a coronavirus case where the source of infection was a mystery.

Brisbane Times revealed last week the Queensland government was considering reducing that to 14 days, but it had abandoned the idea after the health panel advising national cabinet recommended 28 days.

Dr Young said the Australian Health Protection Principal Committee advised the « safest metric to use is 28 days of no community transmission ».

She would not confirm whether that rule would remain when Queensland reviewed its regime at the end of September.

National cabinet was yet to formally accept an official definition of what constituted a coronavirus hotspot.

Mr Miles, who is also Queensland’s Health Minister, said Dr Young would be « monitoring each and every case [in NSW] to determine their relative risk and then looking at that 28-day period ».

« [Although] NSW and Victoria have done incredibly well. Victoria has gone from reporting 700 cases a day to being around the 40 cases-a-day mark, » he said.

« Similarly, NSW seems to be getting on top of their cases although they still have some where there is reason to be concerned that people have been infectious in the community. »



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