Origin spectacle spoilt for many

EXCLUSIVE:

A severe shortage of binoculars for hire has spoilt last night’s State of Origin clash at Optus Stadium in Perth for thousands of diehard rugby league fans.

League fans from Queensland and New South Wales who had travelled to the West Australian capital where rugby league is not played much to watch the second Origin clash between Queensland and New South Wales, the only two states that play the game at a serious level, were dismayed to find they could not rent binoculars to follow the game from the cavernous, circular stadium.

And price gouging meant the limited pairs of binoculars that were available cost league fans anywhere between $75 and $200 for the game won by the NSW Blues 44-12 over the Queensland Maroons.

Typical of the disgruntled fans were league tragics Sean and Cheryl Mansfied and their two teenage children from Townsville.

“Look, we had no issue at all with the $7,500 it cost us in return airfares to Perth via Brisbane, the motel costs over here in a city that doesn’t play rugby league much and the price of tickets,” Cheryl said.

“And, sure, the kids are disappointed we’ve now had to forgo our planned Bali trip at year’s end but we do love our footie.

“We also appreciate that it’s a fantastic promotion for the annual interstate series between Queensland and NSW, the only two states that play the game at a serious level, and that people over here can get to see that spectacle. Who knows? Tonight’s clash might even be the catalyst needed for the game to be played over here a bit more.

“But our seats were right up the back in the top tier on the southside of Optus Stadium and we were promised as part of the package that reasonably priced pairs of binoculars would be available to hire to follow the game way out there on the field.

“I’m not even sure our seats were in the same postcode as the Optus Stadium playing field.”

Thousands of other Queensland and New South Wales league fans who had travelled to Perth where rugby league isn’t played much to watch an Origin clash between Queensland and New South Wales, the only two states that play the game at a serious level, also expressed their frustration as they left the arena.

While many said they did enjoy the spectacle, they did ask The Bug what the final score was.

A Newcastle couple who fared slightly better than many were Brian and Barbara Jones whose seats were right down on ground level.

“We were only 30 metres from the sideline so we got to see bits and pieces of the game and the money we did save on renting binoculars almost covered our pie, hotdog and drink purchases, to be fair.

“It wasn’t ideal but we heard that the West Australian government had paid the NRL $8.75 million for the hosting rights so that’s got to be good for the game, surely?” Brian told The Bug.

Barbara added: “For that reason, we were more than happy to spend the thousands of dollars it cost us to fly to Perth where rugby league isn’t played much to watch a State of Origin match between New South Wales and Queensland.

“Did Brian mention that New South Wales and Queensland are the only two states that play the game seriously and that will probably always be the case?”