I reckon 2020 will go down as the strangest year in the history of Suncorp Stadium and, in a crazy kind of way, one of the most successful...
Back in 2011 pictures of the stadium’s playing surface completely submerged during the Brisbane floods made news bulletins around the world. The resilience and dedication of the staff, who worked almost around the clock to get the stadium back up and running in just four weeks, earned admiration and astonishment in equal measures.
It proved to be a good training ground for what stadium management and staff have encountered over the past ten months during what will always be known as ‘The Year of COVID’.
At one stage it looked unlikely there would be any events held at the venue as the pandemic devastated the world but working closely with government and sporting bodies – and with the great cooperation of patrons who adhered closely to strict protocols - Suncorp Stadium not only reopened, but set some records in the process.
The first event back after the COVID shutdown was on May 28 when the Broncos and Eels played in front of empty stands. By the night of Origin III on November 18, Suncorp Stadium hosted a crowd of 49,155 – the largest crowd in the world since the shutdown.
How happy were the Queensland fans to be back cheering on the Maroons? Well, the roar that went up when Valentine Holmes scored the opening try was the highest crowd noise ever recorded at the venue.
That 20-14 series-winning victory was just one of several notable scorelines at Suncorp Stadium in 2020. There was the Queensland Reds winning through to their first Super Rugby grand final since 2011 with a stirring 25-13 qualifying final win over Melbourne Rebels, and of course the Wallabies’ 24-22 win over the All Blacks – their only win of the season. The Brisbane Roar also turned the stadium into a happy hunting ground, going undefeated at home with four wins and a draw before the lockdown.
We all know what a tough year 2020 has been for everyone, but I reckon seeing events return to Queensland’s favourite venue has been a shot in the arm for all Queenslanders.
What do YOU reckon?