NRL grand final granted boost after Brisbane virus announcement

·Sports Reporter
·3-min read
Queensland premier Annastacia Palaszczuk (pictured left) during a media conference and (pictured right) Nathan Cleary with a fan.
Queensland premier Annastacia Palaszczuk (pictured left) appears to be confident the NRL grand final will go ahead with 75 per cent crowd capacity after a relatively low day of Covid-19 cases. (Getty Images)

The NRL grand final looks set to be going ahead in Brisbane with 75 per cent capacity after another day of low figures in the state.

Fears of a postponement or relocation have been mostly allayed a day out from the historic first at Suncorp Stadium as case numbers remain low with two Covid-19 cases reported on Saturday with no spread in the community.

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While there were reports Sydney had made a bid for the final to return, the NRL decider is all but set to take place at Suncorp Stadium with pop-up Covid-19 vaccination clinics for fans.

Queensland health minister Yvette D'Ath stopped short of handing out a green light for the decider but gave the best indication yet the South Sydney and Penrith blockbuster will go ahead.

"A day is a long time with COVID-19 but things are looking really positive," she said on Saturday morning.

"To know that we had five clusters happening, and the reality is we have not seen any community transmission beyond the actual workplace and household contacts, is great news.

"But it's reliant on people coming forward and getting tested so we can see if there is any transmission happening out there and we can get on top of it very quickly.

"But standing here today with beautiful clear skies ... it's going to be a glorious long weekend and if people keep coming to get tested and vaccinated we're very hopeful we'll have a great weekend."

The NRL had been hoping the outbreak stayed contained and Saturday's low case numbers will be a sigh of relief for the league after an anxious wait that will continue for one more day.

NRL ready for grand final plan-B

On Friday, Peter V'Landys said the NRL is more likely to postpone the grand final than relocate it to Townsville if it can't go ahead with fans on Sunday night.

NRL officials were expected to be locked in emergency meetings on Friday, as the fate of the season-decider hanged in the balance because of Queensland's Covid-19 outbreak.

While Townsville was originally flagged as the NRL's 'Plan B', a postponement is becoming more realistic if the outbreak worsens and a lockdown is forced.

Australian Rugby League Commission Chairman Peter V'landys (pictured) during a media conference.
Australian Rugby League Commission Chairman Peter V'landys (pictured) has been working out a plan-b in case the grand final is cancelled. (Photo by Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images)

In a positive sign for the NRL, just two new locally acquired cases of coronavirus were recorded in Queensland on Friday and another two on Saturday as the government has so far resisted a lockdown.

Queensland premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has already reduced crowd capacity for the sold-out event at Suncorp Stadium to 75 per cent, but maintains a final decision on whether the game will go ahead with crowds won't be made until game day.

with AAP

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