Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has suggested New South Wales fans are 'whingeing' after game one of State of Origin was confirmed to be played in Townsville.
The match was forced to be moved from Melbourne as Victoria continues to deal with emerging coronavirus outbreak in the state's capital.
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A further three new cases of the coronavirus were recorded on Tuesday, with State of Origin one of a number of sporting fixtures to be relocated amid the outbreak.
Townsville was revealed as the new host of game one on Monday, with the NRL declaring the venue 'has the lowest risk of a COVID outbreak impacting the game and the least financial fallout of the available venues'.
On Tuesday, the Queensland premier couldn't help but mock the outrage from the NSW fanbase, sparked by the Maroons benefiting from two games in their home state.
“I understand New South Wales are whingeing and you’d expect that from New South Wales,” she said.
“They’re good at whingeing and that’s all I ever hear is whinge, whinge, whinge from New South Wales. This is value for money... and the benefits that it will bring into the local economy is going to be flowing.”
Treasurer Cameron Dick said the investment cannot be underestimated in the value it will bring to north Queensland.
“Northern Australia has never - let alone northern Queensland - has ever seen a sporting event of this kind. And so we think every dollar we’ve spent has been well spent to support regional Queensland to support the economy of the north,” he said.
“When it comes to highly competitive events, we need to secure them for Queensland, and we will spend what we think is appropriate to get those big events for Queensland."
Stadium capacity boost for State of Origin opener
More than 2000 seats will be added to Queensland Country Bank Stadium and direct flights will return between Sydney and Townsville for the State of Origin series opener.
The NRL's decision to move game one to North Queensland has caused a logistical hurdle for fans.
Organisers will use 10 B-double trucks from Brisbane to allow for extra seating, with the northern end of the stadium designed to be used for temporary grandstands.
That will take the capacity to 27,327, with the minimal nine days of notice stopping the figure from going above 30,000.
But getting the fans to the city could be the trickiest part.
Tickets were not due to go on sale until Wednesday, but by Tuesday afternoon booking sites were showing 98 per cent of hotels as full.
Other websites also showed the nearest available accommodation to be at Magnetic Island or more than an hour's drive from the city.
Townsville routinely sells out hotels for big North Queensland home games given how many people travel from nearby areas, however this is easily the biggest match held in the city.
"We understand this event will put our city at capacity," Townsville Enterprise CEO Claudia Brumme-Smith said.
"However we are leaving no stone unturned and exploring all options to ensure we can cater for all attendees."
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