Concerns ease over NRL grand final shift

·2-min read

Fears the NRL grand final could be shifted to Townsville have eased after Queensland health authorities reported just one locally acquired case of COVID-19.

The NRL is charging ahead with plans to hold Sunday's decider at Suncorp Stadium, with only a snap lockdown of southeast Queensland to force a last-minute relocation to Townsville.

After four new cases of the virus were reported on Tuesday, the NRL was bracing for more case numbers and a switch of the sold-out grand final to Far North Queensland.

Nevertheless, the next few days will be critical despite the Queensland government holding off on a snap lockdown.

Queensland's chief medical officer Dr Jeanette Young has said she will wait until absolutely necessary to confirm the grand final could go ahead in Brisbane but the NRL insist it's business as usual.

But the threat of a relocation has not entirely subsided and Dr Young said a lockdown would be considered if there was a spike in transmissions.

"If we see large numbers, if we see spread and definitely if we see unlinked cases that I can't say where they've come from," she said.

Any lockdown would throw the NRL into chaos with 52,000 Suncorp Stadium tickets already sold for the premiership decider between South Sydney and Penrith.

It will be the first time the NRL grand final has been held in Brisbane despite years of campaigning from Queensland rugby league officials.

A last-minute shift to Townsville, which is on standby to hold the event, would dramatically impact crowd numbers.

At capacity, the Townsville stadium can hold 25,000 fans - less than half of Suncorp Stadium.

Mask mandates were increased for Brisbane, Moreton and Gold Coast local government areas on Tuesday.

But so far there has been no changes to requirements for Brisbane grand final spectators who will be allowed to remove their masks while they are seated.

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