NRL chiefs are preparing to pull the trigger on a backup plan to move the Grand Final 1,300km from Suncorp Stadium to Townsville’s Country Bank Stadium.
Six new cases in Brisbane – including three that have been active in the community – have put the Queensland capital on high, just days away from Sunday’s season decider.
South Sydney Rabbitohs will face Penrith Panthers in their battle to win the Provan-Summons Trophy, with kick-off scheduled for 7:30pm AEDT.
The NRL had already made contingency plans for a change of venue if Brisbane were to be hit by a surprise outbreak ahead of the match.
But the sport’s power brokers are reluctant to make the move unless absolutely necessary due to the turmoil involved.
Kate Miller-Heidke (pictured) is ready to sing the national anthem and be part of the match day grand finale to be moved to Townsville on short notice
NRL chiefs have their finger ready to pull the trigger on a backup plan to move the Grand Final 1,300km from Suncorp Stadium to Townsville’s Country Bank Stadium (pictured)
Six new Brisbane cases have put the Queensland capital on edge just days away from Sunday’s season decider at Suncorp Stadium (pictured)
The newly opened Townsville venue is not only 1,300 miles away, but can accommodate only 25,000 people compared to the 52,000-capacity Suncorp Stadium that has sold out.
A refund of 27,000 tickets could cost the tight NRL about $2.5 million in lost revenue, throwing fans and teams’ plans into chaos.
Prime Minister Annastacia Palaszczuk said on Monday she had not heard from the NRL about a possible change of location.
“There have been no discussions,” she insisted. “Can I tell you that when my phone rings, I’ll keep people informed, but that wasn’t the case at the moment.”
The newly opened Townsville venue seats only 25,000 compared to the 52,000-capacity Suncorp Stadium, which is sold out. (Pictured, Souths fans at Suncorp last weekend)
Fans may have to fly 1,300km to see the grand finale in Townsville if the NRL chiefs pull the trigger. (Pictured, Panthers fans at Suncorp Stadium last weekend)
The NRL has a host of celebrities lining up for the grand finale entertainment, who also need to be moved north in time for the game.
Kate Miller-Heidke will sing the national anthem and will join Ian Moss, DJs The Stafford Brothers and Timmy Trumpet, didgeridoo player William Barton and a 40-piece orchestra as entertainment on match day.
Daily Mail Australia has contacted the NRL for comment.
The shock comes as the investigation continues into how far the disease has spread through the community after the discovery of the new cases.
Veteran Aussie rocker Ian Moss (pictured) is one of the top attractions for the grand finale
Didgeridoo player William Barton (pictured) and a 40-piece orchestra will also shine in the grand finale
DJ and producer Timmy Trumpet (pictured) was also ready to impress the grand final audience
One of the six new cases, a truck driver, is said to have been infected in the community for eight days before developing flu-like symptoms and testing positive.
Contact tracers are still working with him to retrace his steps and identify potential exposure sites, but health officials fear many sites could be involved.
“He has stayed in three different places, two hotels in Spring Hill and a guest house on Stevens Road in South Brisbane,” Dr. Jeanette Young, Queensland’s chief physician.
“We’re working with the managers of those three facilities from who else was in that facility when he was there and arranging quarantine for all those people.
The shock comes as the investigation continues into how far the disease has spread through the community after the discovery of the new cases. (Pictured, a vaccine queue at a Brisbane hub)
Prime Minister Annastacia Palaszczuk (pictured) said on Monday she had not heard from the NRL about a possible change of location
“We’ll continue to work with him on the sites he’s been to while he was contagious, but there’s some that we’ve already been aware of.”
An airline worker – who has not been abroad or knowingly been in contact with infected persons – and his wife also tested positive, triggering warnings at four locations in the city, including a daycare center and a McDonalds.
Two more cases were acquired abroad and in hotel quarantine, and the sixth case was a traveler who had just come out of the hotel quarantine before testing positive.
A refund of 27,000 tickets could cost the tight NRL about $2.5 million in lost revenue, throwing fans and teams’ plans into chaos. (Pictured, Penrith Panthers celebrate a spot in the Grand Final)
However, health officials said they would check the test result for a possible false positive in that case.
The state government has re-imposed mandatory masks indoors, including in stadiums, in the Brisbane and Moreton Bay area in response to the new cases.
First-dose vaccinations will also be mandatory for truck drivers using the state’s freight pass from Oct. 15, with double shots for drivers by Nov. 15.
The sport’s power brokers are reluctant to make the move unless absolutely necessary due to the turmoil that comes with it. (Pictured, Sydney Souths celebrate a try at Suncorp Stadium)