Rugby League fans are relishing the chance to see the game’s best close to home with Moreton Daily Stadium hosting its first NRL double-header on August 15 and more to come in the weeks ahead.
About 5000 fans enjoyed the action, when the Cronulla Sharks took on Newcastle Knights and Canterbury Bulldogs played the Vodafone Warriors.
It was a homecoming for Cronulla’s Toby Rudolf, who was part of the 2018 Dolphins premiership-winning side, and the Bulldog’s Corey Horsburg who was a Dolphins junior.
Rudolf has credited the Dolphins for reviving his love of the game and setting him on the path to the NRL.
The joy on his face during a sideline interview was evident as supporters in the crowd cheered and he responded.
“I love Redcliffe. I love being back. It’s like coming home,” Rudolf said.
Newcastle Knights’ Kayln Ponga and Connor Watson also loved playing in front of the enthusiastic crowd at Moreton Daily Stadium.
“It’s like a home game, this. It’s crazy!,” Watson said.
“It’s awesome … this stadium as soon as we ran out here … it’s an amazing facility. Hopefully they get an NRL team here but the crowd’s awesome.”
Dolphins CEO Tony Murphy said the atmosphere was electric for the first double-header and it was a great opportunity for fans from South East Queensland to experience the Dolphins and Moreton Daily Stadium at their best.
“The ground looked great and we had a good crowd, only 50 per cent but that was due to COVID-19 restrictions,” Mr Murphy said.
“It was a wonderful afternoon. It put us on the national stage and the Dolphins team from the groundsmen right through were marvellous.”
Mr Murphy said he was looking forward to the next couple of weekends with 75 per cent capacity crowds.
“Queensland has been doing a great job in managing COVID-19 and we’re hoping it will be a great couple of weekends,” he said.
“We’ve got some wonderful players that will be playing ahead of the finals like Tom Trbojevic and Nathan Cleary when Manly take on Penrith on August 29.”
Mayor Peter Flannery said the success of the region’s first NRL matches had secured another mammoth weekend of nail-biting action.
“The NRL have had their first taste of Moreton Bay, and it’s clear they want more,” Mayor Flannery said.
“The first double-header was one to remember, bringing together footy fans, bolstering local business and boosting the spirits of residents coming out of lockdown.
“The feedback from players (such as Rudolf, Ponga and Watson) further cements Redcliffe as the home of rugby league and why we should be the starting line-up when the NRL chooses the comp’s 17th team.
“With finals just around the corner, I hope locals continue to show their support by coming along to watch another dazzling double header on Sunday, August 29.”
Saturday, August 28 – Intrust Super Cup Dolphins V Brisbane Tigers, 6pm
Sunday, August 29 – NRL double-header (2pm Manly v Bulldogs, 4.05pm Panthers v Tigers)
Sunday, September 5 - NRL fixture (4:05pm Tigers v Bulldogs)
Tickets via Ticketek.