Fans set to flock to final

Sports

PAPUA New Guinea could help attract the biggest Intrust Super Cup grand final crowd, according to the Queensland Rugby League after ticket sales doubled in support of the Hunters.
Michael Marum’s side became the first team to qualify for this year’s premiership match on Sunday, after they beat Redcliffe 6-4 on their home turf in Port Moresby.
With one of the biggest fan bases in the competition, Hunters fans bolstered ticket sales overnight for the Queensland Rugby League.
Following the game last Sunday, 1000 tickets were snapped up for the grand final at Suncorp Stadium on Sept 24.
More than 2000 tickets have been sold for the match and, with close to 20,000 Papua New Guineans living in Queensland plus hundreds willing to travel, the QRL is expecting many more seats to go.
The QRL’s head of football, Neil Wharton, pictured, said it was hopeful of achieving a crowd of more than 10,000, which would be one of the competition’s biggest grand final attendances.
“If the PNG community decides to turn up en masse, it could push us over the 10,000 mark,” Wharton said.
“It’s enormous for the country. It does a lot for the game in PNG.”
Last year, just under 7000 people watched the Burleigh Bears claim the premiership, while 8000 were in attendance in 2015 when the Ipswich Jets won the title.
Wharton also said there were early indications yesterday that the Hunters were looking at ways to assist corporate partners and fans who wanted to travel to Queensland for the match.
National carrier Air Niugini has already put out packages for flying over and accommodation with a surge in sales for airline tickets expected over the next few days.
The QRL has invited PNG Prime Minister Peter O’Neill and it is understood he is keen to attend.
Kumuls legend David Mead, will also throw his support behind his birth nation.
He said the Hunters making their first grand final was a “huge achievement” for the entire nation.
“I’ll definitely be supporting them and hopefully they can get across and it boosts the nation’s morale,” Mead said. “It’s going to mean everything to them. Rugby league is the national sport, it’s a religion there. Everyone’s very passionate and excited about it.
“Not only are the Hunters making the grand final big for the country but to have three World Cup games later on in the year, it’s exciting times for PNG, that’s for sure.”
Redcliffe and Sunshine Coast play on Sunday to determine who will meet the Hunters in the grand final. – Courier Mail

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