The National Rugby League (NRL) has elected to switch this year’s Premiership Grand Final from Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG) to ANZ Stadium, with a crowd capacity of 40,000 approved.

Grand Final Day, which will feature the men’s and women’s Premiership deciders, will have up to 40,000 fans in place at 85,000-capacity ANZ Stadium following the agreement announced today (Wednesday) between the NRL and New South Wales (NSW) Government.

Today’s announcement comes after the NSW Government this month ruled that major sporting events at selected Sydney stadia can increase crowds from 25% to 50% capacity, up to a maximum of 40,000 spectators, from October 1. The decision was based on updated health advice and was welcomed by the NRL.

At the time, the NRL was yet to determine where its 2020 Grand Final would be played. The October 25 game was initially set for the SCG as redevelopment of Stadium Australia, commercially known as ANZ Stadium, was due to start in July.

However, in May the NSW Government announced that it would no longer proceed with plans to upgrade ANZ Stadium, with funds to be redirected towards job-creating infrastructure projects in a bid to boost the local economy amid COVID-19.

The freeing up of ANZ Stadium led to speculation that the switch would be made, and this has now been confirmed. NRL chief executive Andrew Abdo said: “ANZ Stadium is the biggest venue in NSW and that means more of our fans will be able to experience Grand Final Day live.

“This year will be a historic Grand Final day. The teams competing would have overcome all challenges in front of them and we will experience the culmination of a season like no other. We are working on innovative ways to showcase the pre-game entertainment and returning to ANZ Stadium will provide us with the space to put on the most entertaining show possible.

“We can’t wait to see 40,000 fans at the venue. Our fans have been so patient and loyal throughout the season and having crowd caps increase for the Finals Series is the perfect way to acknowledge that loyalty. This year has been the most unpredictable year in our game’s history, we’ve faced unprecedented challenges and I feel like the best football is yet to come.”

Tickets for the Grand Final will be available for purchase from today. Ticketed Club Members will be able to access entry level tickets from A$49 (£27/€30/$35), with the general public able to access these tickets from A$59.

Abdo added: “I want to congratulate the NSW Government for the way in which they have managed the pandemic. Their contact tracing has been world class and has enabled a crowd of 40,000 to attend our Grand Final Day.”

Earlier this month, the Australian Football League (AFL) announced it will stage its Grand Final outside the state of Victoria for the first time this year, with Brisbane’s Gabba stadium awarded the hosting rights to reward Queensland’s assistance to the League during COVID-19.

The 2020 Grand Final had been scheduled for October 24 at Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG), its traditional home, but the COVID-19 situation in the state of Victoria had necessitated a different venue.

Image: ANZ Stadium