Did A Music Festival Lose The Broncos A Grand Final?

2 October 2023 | 5:46 pm | Ellie Robinson

The team were put up in a hotel just steps away from a bustling EDM festival, which drew in more than 50,000 punters.

Knockout Outdoor 2023

Knockout Outdoor 2023 (YouTube)

Yesterday’s (October 1) NRL Grand Final ended with a near-miss for the Brisbane Broncos – 24 points to the Penrith Panthers’ 26 – and they might have Sydney’s festival fiends to blame.

The match was held at Accor Stadium at Sydney Olympic Park, where the Knockout Outdoor festival was held on Saturday (September 30). The Broncos were staying at the Pullman Hotel at Olympic Park, and reportedly couldn’t sleep because the precinct was bustling with concertgoers and cops (not to mention the festival’s blaring soundtrack of hardstyle dance music).

The Age reports that the Broncos were frustrated by the noise, and as a result slept in before their biggest game of the season. It didn’t help that police were called to Olympic Park around 1am on Sunday morning, with a Knockout punter facing a medical emergency (they would later be transferred to hospital, where they died of a suspected drug overdose).

Ironically, the Broncos chose to stay at Pullman while the Panthers stayed at Park Royal in Parramatta; as per the official NRL finals policy, the visiting team gets the first choice of accomodation. The Panthers had apparently wished to stay at the Pullman before being swept out by the Broncos. But at the end of the day, they emerged victorious with the game’s ultimate win.

Some 53,000 punters attended the Knockout Outdoor festival. A second man also died after visiting the event, with drugs suspected to be involved in that incident as well. In a statement, detective superintendent Simon Glasser said NSW Police were awaiting autopsy reports on the two men before making conclusive assessments on the causes of their deaths.

He did not confirm either death to be directly caused by drug use, but stated: “This shows that people can die at music festivals. Drugs can have some horrible consequences. When you mix that with the heat of yesterday, it's an added risk factor that can cause adverse affects. It’s horrible. These events are events to go and enjoy some music and have a lot of fun with mates, so it's tragic people have lost their lives.”

Don't miss a beat with our FREE daily newsletter