When Adelaide hosted the first State of Origin clash last week, the narrative had shifted since the series dates were announced in 2019.
During the announcement press conference, Premier Steven Marshall said that the state was looking forward to hosting the series opener at Adelaide Oval with thousands of interstate travellers and a sell-out crowd expected.
Initially scheduled for June 3rd, the state government and the NRL were forced to re-schedule game date and adjust the crowd capacity post COVID-19.
The final crowd of 25,218 was comprised almost entirely of local fans.
Hitaf Rasheed, Events South Australia executive director, said that despite the restrictions, Adelaide was thrilled to host its debut game.
“It was fantastic to welcome around 4,000 interstate visitors to Adelaide…State of Origin transcends borders and football codes, it’s a game all sport lovers enjoy and it’s a true spectacle and it proved to be that again,” he said.
Although game one was criticised for under-performing TV ratings, many local Blues and Maroons supporters were ecstatic to have rugby league in Adelaide again.
John Cooper, an Adelaide resident who was introduced to the NRL while serving in the Army, said that he has watched every Origin game since.
“We have been to Origin in every state, except Queensland. For the game to be in Adelaide, we are very excited,” he said.
Fans flocked to Adelaide Oval from New South Wales to watch on their state in unfamiliar territory.
Blues supporters Kerry, Brad and Jess flew in from Sydney to watch the contest and acknowledged how lucky there were to attend the match.
” (We’ve) really enjoyed it so far. Kudos to the Premier for letting us in.”
But will Adelaide put forth a bid to host another Origin game in the future?
ABC sports reporter Neil Cross thinks as much. Recently the state government announced recently that the Supercars Adelaide 500 will not be returning.
“These are the sort of one-off events the government is looking for and if they can get more NRL games, that would be fantastic.”