LAURIE Daley’s NSW Blues will boast an army of supporters which will rival the average NRL crowd this season. Official supporter group of NSW, the Blatchy’s Blues, have secured a record 15,000 tickets for Wednesday’s Origin I blockbuster at ANZ Stadium. The famous band of blue T-shirt and wig-wearing NSW fans are expected to fill the entire southern end of the stadium following a further 3000 extra Blatchy’s snapping up tickets — surpassing the previous record of 12,000 set last year.
ANZ Stadium officials are confident that a crowd of almost 80,000 will witness Wednesday’s match at the Sydney Olympic venue in what is the only chance for NSW supporters to cheer on the Blues in Sydney this series. As of last night, only 5000 tickets remained.
Despite potshots from north of the border after sluggish sales earlier this month, the people of NSW have responded by ensuring the crowd will prove far superior to the maximum 52,000 capacity that could be registered when NSW and Queensland meet in Origin III at Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane on July 8.
Wednesday’s Origin I clash marks the first series since the NSWRL purchased the Blatchy’s Blues last year with the premise of forming one of the largest supporters groups in world sport. NSWRL chief executive David Trodden said the response from NSW fans has been overwhelming while reminding the popular supporter group of how influential they could be on the result.
“We brought them in under the umbrella of the NSWRL family last year,’’ Trodden said. “And we’re thrilled in the first year that so many people have chosen to support the group. “The numbers have increased from 12,000 to 15,000 and what has happened over the past two months is that the Star Casino have come on board as supporters of the Blatchy’s Blues and ticket sales have been exceptional for us.
“To see a 25 per cent increase in ticket sales in the current times is really an achievement of some note. “The 15,000 people who turn up with blue wigs and blue T-shirts should never underestimate the impact that their support has on the team. “And they should remember Jarryd Hayne running towards them last year because that tells them what the players think of them.’’ Trodden also revealed that already 7000 Blatchy’s Blues had secured tickets to Origin II at the MCG in Melbourne on June 17.
Article initially published in The Daily Telegraph on 27 May 2015. Author is David Riccio.