Queensland Rugby Union (QRU) has today announced the location of the 2021 Allsports Physiotherapy Hospital Challenge Cup Grand Final, with the Queensland Premier Rugby decider to be played on Queensland's biggest sporting stage - Suncorp Stadium.
With Ballymore, the traditional home of Queensland Rugby, unavailable due to the redevelopment of the site, QRU has worked closely with our Queensland Premier Rugby clubs to lock down venues for the upcoming finals series.
The Grand Final weekend will see the Hospital Challenge Cup decider, played at Suncorp Stadium on Saturday, 28 August at 7:30pm following the culmination of the Wallabies Bledisloe clash with the All Blacks in Wellington. Both the Premier Women's and Colts 1 Grand Finals will also be played on the hallowed Suncorp Stadium turf, while lower grade Grand Finals will be hosted by GPS Rugby Club.
The Finals series will kick off with Semi-Finals on Saturday, August 14, at St.Joseph's Gregory Terrace playing fields in Tennyson. The Preliminary Finals will be shared between Sunnybank and Norths Rugby Clubs the following weekend.
Former St.George Queensland Reds and Wallabies captain Stephen Moore, who has come out of retirement this year to feature for the table leading University of Queensland, believes the move to Suncorp Stadium provides a great opportunity for the Premier Rugby community.
"I think it's a great initiative and a great opportunity for players to play in a big stadium," said Moore.
"The majority of club players would have been in the crowd at Suncorp before, but now for guys who probably thought they'd never get the chance they can be in the middle on the big stage.
"Suncorp has a great atmosphere, whether it's for Test match or Super Rugby, we saw this at the Super Rugby AU Final, I was in the crowd that night and the atmosphere was excellent.
"I first played for UQ 20 years ago, Rugby has been a big part of my life and it's nice to be giving back in a small way at the moment. Club Rugby plays a crucial role in the Australian Rugby landscape and we'll see that during the finals series."
QRU CEO David Hanham said: "We're grateful for the support from Suncorp Stadium to be able to provide a terrific venue for the penultimate moment of the Queensland Premier Rugby season.
"Our Premier Rugby clubs have also been involved throughout the process and it's been great to see all our club administrators work closely with QRU to find a solution for finals venues with Ballymore being unavailable due to the redevelopment.
"2021 has seen great support for Rugby from the Queensland community and the large turnout of fans support during the Super Rugby AU season allowed the Reds to turn the stadium into a fortress.
"We've also seen huge support for our Premier Rugby competition over the last few years and have had large crowds converge on Ballymore during the finals series, as well as club grounds during the regular season.
"There is a large contingent of our Reds squad who have emerged from the club competition and this match provides the chance for Rugby fans to see the next generation of stars going head-to-head for the Hospital Challenge Cup. We're looking forward to a great celebration of club Rugby."
Tickets for adults for the Grand Final will be $20, with free transport included in the ticket price. Concession and full-time students tickets will be priced at $15 and juniors - 16-and-under - will be free with a paying adult. Tickets are on sale now, head to the Qld.Rugby website for further information.
This finals announcement comes ahead of the competitions first match to be broadcast on free-to-air television, with the Round 15 Norths vs Souths clash at Hugh Courtney Oval to be aired on 9Gem.
Norths captain Paulo Leleisiuao said his team are looking forward to being part of the first Hospital Challenge Cup game on free-to-air television in 2021.
"The boys are really excited to be on free-to-air, it was a treat just being on Stan Sport, and now we're going a step further and the guys are ready for this big game and chuffed for it be on 9Gem," he said.
"Souths are a strong club and in a similar position to us, we beat them earlier in the season and we hope we can do that again.
"We have a large turnout for our home games, Norths is a great family club and I'm expecting a big turnout from our juniors and the rest of the club.
"We're thinking of everyone around Australia who are doing tough during COVID at the moment and hopefully we can put on a performance and Rugby fans can enjoy some good running Rugby." For more information on the Queensland Premier Rugby competition, follow Queensland Premier Rugby on Facebook and Instagram, or visit the Qld.Rugby website. Watch all Hospital Challenge Cup matches via Stan Sport - live and on demand.