Queensland captain Ali Brigginshaw hopes to see a packed Sunshine Coast Stadium for this year’s Women’s State of Origin, after last year’s fixture was disrupted by COVID-19 restrictions.
The Maroons will have their chance to defend their breakthrough title in front of a possible capacity home crowd at the Bokarina venue on June 25, after the NRL confirmed on Tuesday the match would be played there again.
Brigginshaw was instrumental in last year’s 24-18 victory over NSW, but crowd numbers were capped at 4800.
She hoped this year’s match will be a sellout, with a capacity of 10,210.
“It wasn’t the best experience for all our fans and family with the restrictions so I’m really happy for everyone it (Origin) is back on the Sunny Coast,” Brigginshaw said.
“I thought we needed another opportunity here after winning the trophy. I think we need to fill this stadium with as many people as we possibly can and put on the spectacle it should’ve been minus COVID-19.
“We want to be in the community, at fan days and tick the boxes properly. It just wasn’t what it should’ve been for both teams and that was no one’s fault.”
She said they appreciated what support they had last year, but is keen to see a full house this time around.
“It was still amazing to see maroon in the crowd and family members who haven’t been able to make it to games in Sydney be there (last year).”
“But now we want it to be even bigger this year.
“That’s what gets you through, a big crowd and playing in front of your friends and family.”
NRL CEO Andrew Abdo said the Sunshine Coast deserved hosting rights again following the success of 2020.
“Women’s Origin is one of the highlights of our calendar and we’re excited to see it return to the Sunshine Coast,” Abdo said.
“Last year’s game was an incredible success, albeit with COVID restrictions. We’re looking forward to giving the Sunshine Coast community the opportunity to fill Sunshine Coast Stadium this year.
“Women’s rugby league is the fastest-growing part of our game and this year we will create history with two female coaches, that’s a great acknowledgement of the talent in our female ranks.”
Help keep independent and fair Sunshine Coast news coming by subscribing to our free daily news feed. All it requires is your name and email. See SUBSCRIBE at the top of this article
Division 6 councillor Peter Cox said council was confident of a sell-out crowd.
“Council is extremely proud to be hosting the pinnacle event for women’s Rugby League in Australia and we anticipate this match will be a genuine drawcard for footy supporters from around Queensland and interstate,” Cr Cox said.
“The Sunshine Coast is a wonderful place to visit year round and I’m sure our beautiful winter climate will appeal greatly to footy fans from southern states.
“Having another bumper crowd at Sunshine Coast Stadium would also provide a significant boost for our local economy, from the airport to accommodation and flow-on hospitality and attraction visitation.
“We also want the Sunshine Coast to be the epicentre of elite women’s sport and it’s terrific that we’ll be able to showcase the Women’s State of Origin clash on the Friday night and our incredibly successful Sunshine Coast Lightning netball team will play the Magpies at the University of the Sunshine Coast the following day.”
Follow Sunshine Coast News on Facebook
Queensland Tourism and Sport Minister Stirling Hinchliffe welcomed the announcement.
“The growth of the women’s game is wonderful, and Queenslanders will welcome this match once again with open arms,” he said.
“Not only did last year’s game bring an exciting spectacle of skill, it also brought fans and visitors to the Sunshine Coast, providing a welcome boost for local tourism operators.
“Queensland became a major sporting hub last year and many codes and competitors are returning again this year after enjoying our world-class facilities and incredible lifestyle.”
The staging of the Ampol Women’s State of Origin event on the Sunshine Coast is due to a growing partnership between Sunshine Coast Council, National Rugby League and Tourism Events Queensland.
Tickets are now available, through www.ticketek.com.au