League fans swarm across SA border for historic Origin
Tourism chiefs say Wednesday's State of Origin rugby league clash at Adelaide Oval has lured thousands of interstate visitors.
But the SA Tourism Commission won't reveal details of its deal with the NRL to secure the event, nor how that deal has been altered in light of COVID restrictions.
The crowd has had to be capped at 26,750, around 50 per cent of the Oval's capacity.
"Thousands of tickets have been snapped up by interstate visitors, with the event expected to substantially boost the visitor economy," an SATC spokeswoman said.
"Clearly, the delivery of the match has been impacted by COVID restrictions, and a variation on the original agreement was negotiated.
"The details of the NRL contract are commercial-in confidence. As with all SATC- sponsored events, a post-event review will be conducted."
NSW Blues coach Brad Fittler said he expected a great atmosphere despite the crowd limit.
"While the match-watching experience has been restricted due to social distancing norms, the State of Origin fever remains the same and the Blues fans never fail to celebrate, cheering loud and proud," he said.
Adelaide-based NSW fans Christo Karatsinidis, Matthew Cooper and Annabel Collins are among those who will be singing their team's new anthem titled
"We all Bleed Blue".
Last year, the first game of the Origin series attracted a TV audience of 950,000 in Sydney alone.
State of joy for Rachael
By Antimo Iannella
Rachael Leahcar hopes she can unite the country with her rendition of the national anthem at tonight's State of Origin blockbuster at Adelaide Oval.
The SA singer will take centre stage before the NSW v Queensland series opener, just days after the NRL announced it had controversially scrapped the song. Within hours, it bowed to public pressure and reversed the decision.
Leahcar was glad Advance Australia Fairhad been reinstated for tonight's clash, the first time rugby league's showpiece event would be played in Adelaide.
"The anthem is such a big song to do … and I'm so honoured," she said. "It's about celebrating Australia.
"It's also about people coming together and singing music … that's where sport and music are similar - they bring people together."
More than 25,000 physically distanced fans are expected to be in attendance at Adelaide Oval for the match, which will Leahcar's first game of rugby league.
"I don't know much about it … but I'm willing to give it a go," said Leahcar, who was releasing a new single, Can Do, this Friday, to raise money for the CanDo4Kids charity.
Originally published as League fans swarm across border for historic Origin