The NRL is confident the Suncorp Stadium surface will handle hosting eight matches in a little more than 48 hours after questions were raised about the ground’s capacity to recover from a bruising Super Rugby AU final.
The Reds’ heart-stopping after-the-siren win over the Brumbies on Saturday night has provided an unintended dilemma for the NRL, which is also closely monitoring the COVID situation in NSW as it tries to safely ensure all 16 teams will be able to get in and out of Brisbane for Magic Round.
The heavyweight packs of both Queensland and the ACT took visible chunks out of the Suncorp Stadium turf, requiring the referee to set scrums on different patches of the ground in the dying minutes.
The NRL scheduled the Broncos to play in Townsville a week before Magic Round to give the ground recovery time, but it was booked for the Super Rugby final after the Reds won hosting rights.
Having been forced to cancel Magic Round last year during the COVID suspension of the competition, the NRL said it planned to talk with stadium management on Monday before the three-day extravaganza starting on Friday.
“Everything is full-steam ahead next week,” NRL head of football Graham Annesley said. “We’ll continue to liaise with the [Queensland] government and stadium over the next few days.
“They’ve got full-time ground staff and they’ll be working around the clock to get it in tip-top shape. We’ll deal with the stadium in the lead-up to the game as we normally would.”
The NRL will be desperate to avoid a round of injury carnage as club casualty wards continue to bulge nearing the midway point of the season.
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