Mackay NRL semi-finals are historic for town in love with the rugby league

The excitement for the NRL semifinals peaks in Mackay ahead of the first of tonight’s historic two games.

This is the first time in the history of the city in love with the rugby league that it has hosted such important matches.

The Sea Eagles will face the Roosters at Stadium Mackay starting at 7:50 p.m. tonight, while the Panthers face the Eels concurrently on Saturday night.

Ahead of the games, rugby league legend Jonathan Thurston visited Mackay’s Cape Hillsborough beach at sunrise, with the NRL trophy, to meet the wallabies and local fans.

Mackay Regional Council’s director of events Andrew Bobeldyk said organizers were confident the sold-out matches would run smoothly.

Mackay Stadium hosted its first NRL game in June 2012, as part of Round 16 that year, and again as part of Round 17 in July 2013.

The stadium has already hosted three games this year when the NRL moved the competition to Queensland due to blockages in the southern states, but this is the first time in its history that it has hosted a semi-final.

“To get the rugby league semifinals in Mackay, if someone had told me that three months ago, I would have laughed at them,” he said.

“I would have said that would never happen.

Kangaroos on the beach, with the NRL trophy sitting in the ocean.
The NRL is jumping into Mackay for two games this weekend. (

ABC North Tropical: Tegan Philpott


Ticket data analyzed by the Mackay Regional Council revealed that approximately 2,000 of the 6,000 ticket holders were traveling from outside the region for the games.

Based on their 1.5-night stay, the games’ economic output is expected to provide a $ 1 million boost to the region’s economy.

“The exposure this gives Mackay across the country, you just can’t buy it,” Mr. Bobeldyk said.

“The fact that every national radio station, every national television station talks about Mackay, is [great] exposure.

Mr Bobeldyk said additional grandstands have been installed around the oval and new large screens have been installed, all to make it the best NRL experience Mackay has ever had.

Vaccination clinic set up next to the match

As with other games in the NRL Finals, a pop-up vaccination clinic will be operating near the stadium.

Mackay Hospital and Health Department executive director of nursing and midwifery Julie Rampton said the clinic will be open from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. on both match days.

“We will be in the veterans room, which is very close to the stadium,” she said.

“People just have to come in, no reservations are required.”

Ms Rampton said staff hoped to vaccinate at least 200 people as part of the vaccination campaign.

“The staff are very excited to do this one,” she said.

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