"Mr. Newcastle" himself, Eighth Immortal Andrew Johns, has called connected the NSW authorities to let a 100 per cent assemblage capableness astatine adjacent Wednesday's Origin III clash astatine McDonald Jones Stadium.
Earlier this week, the NRL confirmed the last lucifer of this year's bid would beryllium played successful Newcastle aft Sydney - the archetypal determination for the clash - was plunged into lockdown owed to the caller outbreak of the COVID-19 delta variant.
The spectacle volition beryllium held successful beforehand of astir 20,000 radical aft the NSW authorities agreed to let 75 per cent of the seated capableness astatine McDonald Jones Stadium.
However, Newcastle has mostly been sheltered from the latest COVID outbreak and has already benefited from the relocation of 2 NRL games - past Thursday's Roosters vs Storm match-up and this Friday night's clash betwixt the Rabbitohs and Cowboys.
It led Johns to telephone connected the authorities authorities and the NRL to find a mode to assistance the cap, truthful that the maximum magnitude of Novocastrians could bask rugby league's showpiece event.
"Mate, I'm conscionable truthful pumped for the radical up there, for the country of Newcastle and the Hunter," Johns told Wide World of Sports' Freddy and The Eighth
"It's a 75 per cent capacity, there's nary COVID up determination successful Newcastle oregon the Hunter, fto them spell with 100 per cent.
" ... what a large juncture it volition beryllium up determination for radical successful Newcastle up astatine the Hunter. I conscionable privation they deed 33,000 successful there."
Johns added that his telephone had been moving blistery since the NRL confirmed Game Three would beryllium successful Newcastle, with aged acquaintances clamouring for a favour from the rugby league legend.
"The telephone calls person started already, idiosyncratic rang maine past night, I haven't spoken to him successful 10 years and helium said, 'Mate, tin I get 10 tickets?' I started it with 'F' and finished the effect with 'off'."
Origin teams in logistical nightmare
Maroons fable Billy Slater said taking Origin to different determination centre similar Newcastle was a large determination for the game, and likened the power to Townsville's Origin opener.
"I deliberation Newcastle is simply a large rugby league area, It's the Townsville equivalent for NSW, isn't it?" helium said.
"I'm truly blessed for the radical up determination successful the Hunter, they get an origin. It mightiness beryllium the archetypal and lone clip they get an accidental to big an Origin. So, I deliberation it's going to beryllium an astonishing ambiance and I deliberation NSW merit the accidental to decorativeness the bid disconnected connected location soil.
"We've had 2 matches up successful Queensland and they've done a fantastic occupation to prime those 2 games up and they'll privation to spell and clasp that shield up aft a triumph for sure."
Origin III kicks disconnected adjacent Wednesday with unrecorded and escaped sum connected Nine from 7pm.
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