Maitland Sportsground has been approved to host 2500 people at Saturday's statewide semi-final, but Pickers coach Matt Lantry will be more concerned about the 17 players he selects this week to meet the Hills Bulls.
Pickers president Frank Lawler confimed the move, which increases the crowd capacity five times from the current cap of 500, having worked with Maitland City Council and NSW Rugby League for an appropriate COVID-19 plan.
It comes as the President's Cup minor premiers bid to rebound and qualify for the September 27 decider at Parramatta's Bankwest Stadium having lost their first game of the campaign in Sunday's last round, going down 26-24 to second-placed Glebe Burwood Wolves at Henson Park.
Despite the loss, Lantry said the numbers boost was welcomed ahead of a do-or-die encounter.
"It will be good to get as many people there as possible," Lantry said.
"I think some people have been staying away [from home games this season] because of the 500 capacity and being worried about lining up or being turned away.
"Now there's an opportunity to come down and have a look. We're going to need all the support we can get against a quality opposition."
Maitland Sportsground has also been put forward as a potential venue for next month's Newcastle Rugby League grand final with McDonald Jones Stadium and No.2 Sportsground already ruled out. A decision is expected in the coming weeks.
In the meantime, Lantry will need to work out who he puts on the field and how he shuffles his squad.
Pickers centre Matt Soper-Lawler (quad) has been rested from the last two outings while recent scans revealed that utility William Nieuwenhuise (ACL) is now officially sidelined.
"They are good headaches to have at this time of year, but they're not easy decisions or discussions to have with players," Lantry said.
Lantry said Sam Anderson, who scored late to keep the Pickers within range at the end of a see-sawing battle, was strong on Sunday.
"We had our chances but we were a bit disappointed with our performance. I think we lacked effort and energy and just didn't get the little things right. But we've been up for a long time and maybe we needed that. The monkey is off the back and now we can focus on Hills," Lantry said.
Maitland trio Henry Penn, James Bradley and Jacob McCudden also crossed for tries. The Wolves led 18-16 at half-time. A penalty goal proved the difference.
Elsewhere in the President's Cup, Hills wrapped up fourth spot on the competition ladder by defeating Dubbo 44-4 at Crestwood Reserve on Sunday.
The Bulls finished alogside Thirroul, who accounted for Wentworthville 24-12 at Ringrose Park on Saturday, but had a much superior for-and-against record.
Third-placed North Sydney, who now face off with Glebe Burwood in the other semi at Leichhardt Oval this weekend, breezed past Wests Illawarra 44-0 at Macquarie University on Saturday.
Western Rams had a bye.
Meanwhile, in the NSW Women's Premiership and top-ranked Central Coast Roosters booked their spot in the 2020 decider after Wallsend-based Mel Howard slotted a field goal in extra-time to defeat the Cronulla Sharks at Campbelltown Stadium on Saturday.
The halfback broke the major semi-final deadlock to make it 13-12 with two minutes remaining in the golden-point period. Cronulla had levelled proceedings with a converted try late in regular time.
Scone-based centre Yasmin Meakes crossed for a double while Novocastrian Britney Duff also nabbed a four pointer.
Howard is one of many players who joined Central Coast from last year's champions CRL Newcastle, who didn't reform in 2020.
The Roosters will meet either the Sharks or North Sydney Bears, who beat Wests Tigers 16-4, in the grand final.
"Intensity was a 10 out of 10," Roosters winger Jayme Fressard told NSWRL media.
"It felt like a grand final game. Both sides came out firing from the start and it was super tough.
"We've got a week off which is great for the girls, but we'll get some good hard training sessions in and aim to stick to our game plan."