Stadiums at 50 per cent capacity: NRL finals series set for huge crowd boost

The NRL is on the verge of a huge boost ahead of the October finals series with the NSW government considering softening its COVID-19 restrictions to allow 50 per cent capacity at major events from the start of next month.

The current threshold limits crowds to 25 per cent capacity with a maximum of 10,000, however that could be scrapped in the coming days with discussions being held about changing restrictions to double the number of fans in seated sections of stadiums. It would also see the number of people on hills and in corporate suites increase from one per four square metres to one per two square metres.

Panthers fans could be out in numbers come week one of the finals.Credit:Getty

The mooted change could allow the Penrith Panthers to hold around 8000 fans for the opening week of the finals, with the club expected to knock back an opportunity to host 40,000 at ANZ Stadium for what is shaping as a western Sydney showdown against Parramatta.

Premier Gladys Berejiklian admitted changes were afoot at a press conference on Wednesday.

"I just want to foreshadow the government will have something to say about that in the next few days," Berejiklian said on Wednesday.

"They [a ministerial task force which includes treasurer Dominic Perrotte, deputy premier John Barilaro and tourism minister Stuart Ayres] have done some good work given the input from health on what we consider a safe way to host some of these events into the future. NSW is holding the line well. We are doing well and we want to keep it that way.

"When it comes to major sporting events we are, through health input and also the great work by police, looking at how we can have some of those key events in a COVID-safe way to support the direction NSW is going. But also as a big thank you to the community for working with us to get us where we are today."

The Melbourne Storm will also host a final in week one of the playoffs, with their match, likely against the Sydney Roosters, to be played at Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane in front of a maximum crowd of 25,000.

The Newcastle Knights would be able to host close to 17,000 at McDonald Jones Stadium if they finish in fifth or sixth and earn the right to a home final in week one, while the Parramatta Eels would also be able to fit a similar crowd at Bankwest Stadium should they earn the right to a home final throughout October.

More to come

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