The NRL is hoping to host capacity crowds for this year’s Magic Round in Brisbane when all 16 teams play out of the one stadium over three days

The NRL is hoping to host capacity crowds for this year’s Magic Round in Brisbane when all 16 teams play out of the one stadium over three days in May.

Key points:

  • All 16 NRL teams will play in Brisbane from May 14-16, as the Magic Round returns to the schedule
  • Each of the Queensland-based teams will play on a different day of the rugby league carnival at Lang Park
  • The round was first played in 2019, before it was scrapped in 2020 due to COVID-19 concerns

The concept was first played in 2019, then scrapped in 2020 due to the COVID pandemic.

All 272 players will travel to Brisbane to play eight matches and the league hopes 50,000 fans will be able to attend each day.

“[We will] be able to see, as we saw in 2019, more than 91,000 fans enjoy the Magic Round, I am sure we can top that this year and see more than 29,000 visitors come from interstate,” said Queensland’s Tourism and Sport Minister Stirling Hinchliffe.

“$22 million will be injected into the city’s economy, which will be very welcome to Brisbane’s visitor economy.”

An NRL player grimaces as he scores in the corner as an opposition player lands on him.

The ambitious plan comes on the heels of repeated border closures in 2020 and this year’s ongoing uncertainty.

“We are back, and back with an even stronger line-up and we want blockbuster crowds,” said ARL commissioner Kate Jones.

“The NRL has done a lot of work to ensure we are COVID safe and will continue to work with authorities to ensure we can have a full house for the long weekend.

“We wouldn’t have been able to do this without help from the Queensland Government and local government, and this shows the NRL continues to be innovative and do what other codes can’t deliver.”

The NRL hopes the event will proceed as normal if infection rates remain low. But some coronavirus restrictions will still be in place.

The league is working with health and government authorities to determine how strict those protocols will be closer to the date.

Fans will get refunds if borders are shut.

Jamayne Isaako from the Brisbane Broncos hopes it will be a great chance for fans and players to come together.

“I think it will be a huge boost … and a great weekend for rugby league lovers and fans out there who obviously missed out on a lot of football last year,” Isaako said.

The event will run over three days from May 14, headlined by Queensland’s three teams, with the Brisbane Broncos playing on Friday, the North Queensland Cowboys on Saturday and the Gold Coast Titans on Sunday.

Last year’s premiers the Melbourne Storm will also play on Sunday.

Three-day tickets have been released, while single-day tickets will be available next month.

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