Queensland captain Ali Brigginshaw is stoked the Sunshine Coast will again play host to the Women’s State of Origin clash on Friday, June 25 after last year’s fixture was disrupted by COVID-19 restrictions.
The Maroons will have their chance to defend their breakthrough title win in front of a possible capacity home crowd at Sunshine Coast Stadium, after the NRL confirmed on Tuesday the women’s Ampol State of Origin would be played in the Sunshine State for another year.
Brigginshaw played an instrumental part in last year’s 24-18 victory over NSW at Sunshine Coast Stadium, which was the first Women’s Origin clash played in Queensland.
While last year’s clash was a sellout, crowd numbers were capped at 4800 due to COVID-19 restrictions. The Queensland skipper is hopeful this year’s match will again be a sellout but this time at the ground’s maximum 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’s 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.
“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.
“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.
Division 6 councillor Peter Cox said council was confident of another sell-out crowd on June 25.
“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.”
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.”
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 Ltd (NRL) and Tourism Events Queensland (TEQ).
Tickets are now available for the June 25 match through www.ticketek.com.au.