A tent city has been erected in just three days to accommodate footy fans ahead of the State of Origin in Townsville this week.
- The tent city is to house up to 200 footy fans
- A final surge on tickets is expected with 2,000 to be released on Tuesday
- Valentine Holmes is excited to be pulling on the Maroons jersey at his home stadium
The Footy Basecamp was unveiled on Friday as a creative solution to the region’s severe accommodation shortages in the lead up to Wednesday’s game.
Now complete, the facility has capacity to provide lodgings for 200 people.
Over the weekend, a 50 per cent reduction on the original price was offered along with the option book for a single night in a bid to attract more bookings.
A spokesperson from Townsville Enterprise said some accommodation providers did see cancellations towards the end of last week after origin fans were unsuccessful in securing tickets.
“They were filled with wait list bookings straight away,” she said.
The spokesperson said hotels have reported people are choosing to stay in the region after the game.
“Our Visitor Information Centre has reported an increase in tour bookings for that Thursday and Friday, so visitors seem to be making a holiday out of it,” she said.
Townsville Mayor Jenny Hill said many residents had jumped at the opportunity to provide visitors with an authentic north Queensland experience.
Footy tragics have everything crossed for second ticket release
Crews at North Queensland Stadium continued to work over the weekend to install an additional 2,000 seats for fans.
After tickets sold out in minutes last week, many footy tragics like Townsville couple Kathy and Darryl Serrurier are holding their breath for a second chance to secure seats tomorrow.
The NRL has confirmed they will release an extra 2,000 tickets from 2:00pm on Tuesday afternoon.
The seats are part of the temporary grandstand which has been installed at the northern end of the ground, transforming the crab pot into a mini-cauldron.
“It’s just good that it is giving people the extra opportunity to go,” Ms Serrurier said.
Even if they can not secure tickets, the couple are just excited to be part of the spectacle playing out in their own backyard.
“A lot of people trying to get tickets have been disappointed they have missed out, but the town is still happy,” Ms Serrurier said.
“We’re still just so excited for the event.
“We’ll be doing the Maroons March on Wednesday night from the stadium and then race home to watch the TV if we don’t get tickets.”
Homecoming for Valentine
As Maroon fever grips the city, fans are expected to go into overdrive this afternoon when both teams touch down at Townsville airport.
It will be a special homecoming for North Queensland Cowboys’ Valentine Holmes, set to play in front of his home crowd.
In an interview with ABC Grandstand he said he hoped his mother, father, and family would be in the stadium to witness the historic event.
“It’ll be an awesome experience and all the boys are really excited about it.”
Holmes is tipped to pull on the number one jersey for the Maroons on Wednesday night after Kayln Ponga was ruled out with a groin injury.