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The NRL grand final will leave Sydney for the first time after the NSW Government officially conceded it could not stage the event this year due to COVID-19.
Queensland is poised to stage its first decider, rewarding a heartland league state for allowing the competition to shift north.
Lockdowns and the high daily infection rates have made it clear for some time that the grand final couldn’t proceed at its usual home at Stadium Australia. However, the NRL have been tight-lipped about the location given the long-term agreement with the NSW Government on deciders, which is tied to the upgrade of several stadia.
“Due to the current COVID-19 situation in Greater Sydney and across the state, the NSW Government has informed the NRL that unfortunately New South Wales is unable to host the 2021 NRL Premiership grand final on Sunday 3 October,” said Minister for Jobs, Investment, Tourism and Western Sydney, Stuart Ayres.
“While it is very disappointing to miss out on this marquee event, it reinforces the importance of our community getting vaccinated so that events like the NRL grand final with crowds can safely return to our stadiums as soon as possible.
“I would like to thank the NRL for its understanding in this challenging situation and its ongoing support of the NSW visitor economy.
While the vaccination rate in NSW is higher, it became apparent that holding the event in Sydney wasn’t feasible, even if the only patrons allowed to attend were vaccinated.
The NRL is expected to officially confirm that Suncorp Stadium will host the grand final.
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