Thousands of NRL fans were left waiting outside Suncorp Stadium in lengthy queues with no social distancing after a ticketing glitch left them in the lurch.
Ticketing giant Ticketek suffered a major malfunction on Friday evening which left them unable to scan tickets, resulting in huge lines forming not only in Queensland for the NRL preliminary final between Canberra and Melbourne, but also the AFL preliminary final at the Adelaide Oval.
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Frustrated fans took to social media to criticise the failure, which left thousands locked out of venues as Ticketek tried to fix the problem.
Later some Twitter users, including Courier Mail entertainment reporter Amy Price, claimed they had been let into Suncorp Stadium without having their tickets checked, with minimal bag checks and reserved seating completely disregarded.
The scenes prompted outrage from fans both at each venue and elsewhere, with many questioning how important practices to prevent the spread of the coronavirus had been thrown out the window so quickly thanks to a glitch with ticket scanning.
“Trying to get into Suncorp. Game starts in 4 minutes and we’re hardly moving. Disaster,” Price posted just before 8pm, with a picture showing how many people remained outside the stadium.
A short time later, Price had made it inside.
“Update: they let everyone in without scanning tickets and barely a bag check. Missed two tries and a wine, but I’m here,” she wrote.
Fox League commentator Andrew Voss reported Raiders-Storm match had been delayed slightly in order to get as many fans through the door before kick-off.
“There’s some kind of ticketing crash, thousands of people are still outside,” he said.
“They’ve delayed this as much as they can but for such a big game they can’t be pushing it back too much.”
So this was outside Suncorp tonight either the Ticketek meltdown. Same thing happened at the AFL. Gates thrown open at kickoff and sit where you like. pic.twitter.com/4szpCqb8bO— Julian Abbott (@JulianBAbbott) October 16, 2020
Dramas with ticketek thousands stuck outside Suncorp pic.twitter.com/3CKhOardAR— Dan Ginnane (@DanGinnane) October 16, 2020
When ticketek crashes but then is fixed, social distancing doesn’t matter 🤷♂️ pic.twitter.com/sCrNLHz6dd— Luke McGarry (@LukeMcGarry7) October 16, 2020
Ticketek later took to Twitter to post an apology for the fiasco that unfolded outside the stadium.
“Ticketek apologises to Storm and Raiders fans that were delayed getting into Suncorp Stadium tonight due to a technical issue,” they posted.
“We also apologise to the NRL and Suncorp Stadium.”
Melbourne Storm win through to NRL Grand Final
The guessing game over Cameron Smith's future looks set to continue for at least another week after Melbourne overpowered Canberra 30-10 to become the first team to book a 2020 NRL grand final berth.
Halfback Jahrome Hughes was inspirational as Melbourne raced to a point a minute 24-0 lead and the Raiders never recovered, ensuring their 26-year title drought continues.
Hughes set up three tries as Melbourne snapped Canberra's five-game winning run and sealed their 20th straight win in Queensland in front of 37,112 fans.
The Raiders cut the halftime deficit to 24-6 but their dream of booking back to back grand finals ultimately came unstuck at their bogey venue Suncorp Stadium where they have not won since 2010.
In contrast 429-gamer Smith added another fond memory in his record equalling 27th finals win, pulling off a 66th minute try saving tackle on Nick Cotric.
Melbourne sealed the match when comeback king Dale Finucane - in his first game since August after battling a calf complaint - scored to blow the scoreline out to 30-6 in the 63rd minute.
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