Coast’s finals coup
FOOTY finals will be coming to the Sunshine Coast when the NRL takes some of the biggest games of the year out of Brisbane.
The NRL was on Wednesday expected to confirm venues for the finals, which will be played entirely in Queensland for the first time.
The league was still finalising venues on Tuesday, but what is clear is Sunshine Coast Stadium will host two finals.
The Kawana venue will host an elimination game in each of the first two weeks of the finals.
Other venues in regional Queensland have been explored as potential finals venues following a push from the state government to take the NRL out of the capital.
The NRL has investigated playing finals in Townsville, but the costs and logistics of hosting games in North Queensland add another layer of complexity.
There have been suggestions a finals double-header could be hosted at Queensland Country Bank Stadium in Townsville.
Since relocating the entire competition to the Sunshine State, the NRL has experienced better support in the regions for non-Queensland teams than it has in Brisbane and the Gold Coast.
With crowd capacity back to 100 per cent, the qualifying and preliminary finals are expected to be hosted at Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane and Cbus Super Stadium on the Gold Coast. Suncorp is also expected to host the NRL grand final for the first time.
After struggling to attract NRL attention for years, the Sunshine Coast has hosted a stack of games over the past two years and was home to the Melbourne Storm during their 2020 premiership season.
Sunshine Coast mayor Mark Jamieson last week said he would like to see NRL action become a more regular occurrence in the region.
“We have a good stadium and people love coming to the Sunshine Coast to watch the footy,” he said.
“Our plan is to have as many NRL games as possible and once Covid passes, we are happy to talk to a range of clubs about playing NRL matches on the Sunshine Coast.
“If we are going to develop the game, the population of Moreton Bay and Sunshine Coast is well on its way to one million people. This area has the capacity to sustain elite sporting teams.”
Jamieson has offered his council’s support for the Dolphins’ NRL bid team in the hope the franchise will play games on the Sunshine Coast if granted the 17th licence.