Queensland’s government has given the green light for the NRL to move games away from Brisbane and the Gold Coast this weekend, as COVID-19 restrictions ease across the state.
- Over the past fortnight Lang Park has hosted 10 games, with a further five at Robina
- The NRL is mindful of not overusing the turf at the two stadiums, with the rest of the season likely to be played in Queensland
- Venues for round 23 and beyond are yet to be finalised
Crowds will return with stadiums capped at 50 per cent capacity, starting with Thursday night’s Melbourne and Canberra clash at Sunshine Coast Stadium.
It’s the first of two games that have been shifted to the venue, with Manly taking on Parramatta for a spot in the top four there on Saturday night.
Dolphins Stadium in Redcliffe will host a double header on Sunday afternoon, with the Warriors to face Canterbury before Cronulla and Newcastle battle it out for a top eight place.
North Queensland will return to their home ground in Townsville for Saturday’s clash with Wests Tigers.
Brisbane’s Lang Park will host a double-header on Friday night, while South Sydney’s meeting with Gold Coast on Saturday afternoon will be the only game at Robina Stadium across the weekend.
Both grounds have been under heavy traffic across the past fortnight, with Lang Park hosting 10 games, and five at the Gold Coast venue last weekend.
While the NRL insists both grounds have held up well, they’re conscious of resting the turf considering it’s likely the rest of the season will be played in Queensland.
“Both Cbus [Robina Stadium] and Suncorp [Lang Park] have stood up really well regarding the number of games they’ve had over the last few weeks, they’re very good grounds with very good staff who spend the entire week preparing them for playing each week,” head of football Graham Annesley said.
“We’re very aware of the need to minimise as much as possible the wear and tear and give some recovery time to those venues.
“I don’t think we can walk away from either of them, we will have to play games at those venues each week.
“But if we can limit the number of games at those grounds, [that] is an objective of ours.”
Venues for round 23 and beyond are yet to be finalised, with the NRL and the state government taking a day-by-day approach to the competition.