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Broncos, Titans may sidestep restrictions so crowds can watch Suncorp local derby

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Fans may be welcomed back for the Queensland NRL derby between the Brisbane Broncos and Gold Coast Titans at Suncorp Stadium on June 27 under new COVID-safe provisions to bring back crowds.

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The limited tickets would be shared between the Broncos and Titans, with the clubs expected to release them under a ballot system to give supporters a fair chance at securing entry.

Despite falling before new July 1 rules to allow crowds back to major events announced by Prime Minister Scott Morrison last week, Queensland Chief Health Officer Dr Jeannette Young is considering plans submitted by Stadiums Queensland to scale up the return of fans for the Queensland clash.

“The Chief Health Officer and the NRL are working on plans to return fans to our stadiums,” a spokesperson for Premier Anastacia Palaszczuk told InQueensland.

“The Premier has said she wants fans to be able to return to their sport whether it’s the NRL or their local neighbourhood.”

The plans submitted by Stadiums Queensland do not rely on the July 1 date.

“The Chief Health Officer is working through these COVID safe plans and we look forward to seeing people back watching sport when it is safe,” a statement from Stadiums Queensland said.

“The stadium plans will apply to all sports that play in them, including the NRL and AFL.”

Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced changes on Friday that would allow stadiums with a capacity of fewer than 40,000 to offer seated ticketing at 25 per cent capacity, or maximum 10,000 fans, from July 1.

Suncorp Stadium holds a capacity crowd of 52,500. Under the restrictions, the maximum crowd size at Suncorp would still be capped at 10,000.

The Cowboys will meet the Knights at Townsville in Round 7 in a match that would also be covered under the Stadiums Queensland submission. The game at the 25,000-capacity Queensland Country Bank Stadium is currently scheduled to be played behind closed doors with no spectators at the venue.

Other NRL clubs based in NSW, including the South Sydney Rabbitohs, Manly, Parramatta and Knights, have already announced the return of fans to their home games, offering limited places to ticketed members.

The move to allow crowds to the Queensland league showdown would also have repercussions for other codes. It means fans may be in line to attend the Australian return of Super Rugby when the Queensland Reds and NSW Waratahs go head-to-head at Suncorp Stadium on July 3.

This article is supported by the Judith Neilson Institute for Journalism and Ideas

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