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Women’s State of Origin series set to break records in Newcastle

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The records are expected to tumble when Newcastle hosts game two of the Women’s State of Origin series next week.

Already, it appears McDonald Jones Stadium will place the “full house” sign out the front, with only a handful of tickets remaining for the NSW-Queensland clash on Thursday 6 June.

And, that’s just how Dean Mantle likes it.

“Yeah, we’re looking to break the mark set at Suncorp (earlier this month),” the McDonald Jones Stadium manager said.

“There’s a huge buzz around this match.

“Some people have suggested Newcastle needs a bigger venue.

“But, that’s a tough call… there are a lot of different ways you can look at it.

“When we get into the territory for some of these bigger football games, it would absolutely be a benefit for us to secure something [larger] and work towards a men’s State of Origin encounter.

“However, in the same instance, what we have now is a great-sized stadium and it certainly facilitates an incredible atmosphere.

“We’re really fortunate with the crowds the Newcastle Knights deliver.

“When they get 20,000-to-25,000 people here, on a regular basis, it’s huge.

“Look, could we attract 40,000 fans to a Knights’ fixture, who knows?

“Maybe, I don’t know for certain.

“But, at the moment, we’re seeing an atmosphere that fits the town at this point of time.

“As for getting a bigger stadium, it’s worth having a chat down the track.”

NSW, coached by Kylie Hilder and featuring three Newcastle NRLW stars – Yasmin Clydsdale, Caitlan Johnston and Olivia Higgins, upstaged Queensland 22-12 in the 2024 opener.

A victory on “home” soil would wrap it up, and avenge last season’s loss to the Maroons, before the final showdown at Queensland Country Bank Stadium in Townsville on 27 June.

“I’m expecting to see a sea of Sky Blue on Thursday night,” Mantle told the Newcastle Weekly.

“We’re also very open to welcoming Queenslanders… everyone’s welcome.

“But, we certainly hope to witness really strong support for NSW.

“We’re really excited to have them here and we’re looking forward to being able to provide them the right atmosphere and the right location for them to go ahead and take it [series] out.

“At the end of the day, the more the merrier.

“We just want people to get behind the event, and women’s sport, and make sure it’s a huge night.”

Mantle admitted if game two matched the intensity of the first encounter, Hunter supporters were in for a thrill.

“I sort of liken it to when I used to watch State of Origin as a kid with my dad,” he said.

“Sitting there back then, it was real football, not so much structured.

“Don’t get me wrong, I believe the men’s game is still great.

“However, I think what the women bring to the table is real football, raw talent and emotion.

“They really want it.

“It’s less about the business of football, more about the game itself and the passion the girls have for it.

“It’s exciting.

“So, we’re firmly behind them and supporting the Sky Blues 100%.”

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