Melbourne Storm won against the Newcastle Knights on Sunday, August 2, at a home game played at Sunshine Coast Stadium.
Melbourne Storm won against the Newcastle Knights on Sunday, August 2, at a home game played at Sunshine Coast Stadium.

FINALS FOOTY: Bid to bring big games to the Coast

Forget Suncorp and ANZ, the Sunshine Coast is making a bid to bring finals footy to the region in a National Rugby League season like no other.

After Sunshine Coast Stadium was chosen as Melbourne Storm’s home-away-from-home for its first three home games, there’s hope the southern side will be willing to stay a little longer.

Ahead of Saturday’s clash at the stadium between the Storm and Canterbury Bankstown Bulldogs, Sunshine Coast Council is continuing discussions with the squad’s management to secure more games.

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Mayor Mark Jamieson hopes the Bokarina stadium can host at least another three of Storm’s games, and potentially a finals match.

It comes as the council begins refunding about 1200 tickets to reduce crowd numbers to 4000 at this Saturday’s match, in response to backlash from crowd numbers at the Titans and Storm match last weekend.

Sunshine Coast Regional Council Mayor Mark Jamieson hopes Melbourne Storm will play more home games at Sunshine Coast Stadium.
Sunshine Coast Regional Council Mayor Mark Jamieson hopes Melbourne Storm will play more home games at Sunshine Coast Stadium.

“We’d like to see another three home games for Storm on the Sunshine Coast and potentially a figure in the finals because I know the Storm loves playing here and they love the support they’re getting from the Sunshine Coast crowd,” Cr Jamieson told media this afternoon.

Cr Jamieson, who attended the Knights and Storm match last Sunday, said steps had to be taken to reduce crowd numbers as the COVID-19 situation worsened.

But he said some photos which showed the crowd on the eastern hill made it look worse than it was.

“The images taken directly onto the eastern hill perhaps made it look worse than it was,” he said.

“There were also shots that were taken from above that indicated there was an effort to keep people apart.

“(But) we accept that we probably shouldn’t have had so many people there and that's being addressed.”

Already several hundred people have volunteered to have their tickets refunded for the Bulldogs match.

From 6pm today council will begin to refund tickets to those who purchased them last to reduce crowd numbers to a third of the stadium’s capacity.

Cr Jamieson said it showed the need for the Sunshine Coast Stadium upgrade, and has made a new pitch to Queensland Government to help fund it.

“Whenever we stage any major sporting events at the stadium they sell out,” he said.

“In the lead up to the state election I’d like the state to seriously consider the investment that’s necessary for a fully blown stadium for the Sunshine Coast so we can have 24,000 people attending and have everyone in their own seat.”

He said he would not be attending this weekend’s match, due to prior commitments.