Townsville firms for State of Origin I amid Melbourne lockdown
Queensland appear closer to a second State of Origin match within its borders as the Melbourne lockdown threw a spanner in the works.
Townsville’s Queensland Country Bank Stadium appears set to host the match, which would hand the Maroons back-to-back home ground advantages despite the recent trend being one in a neutral state, before each side getting one each.
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The Daily Telegraph reported that the Queensland Rugby League had booked out The Ville resort and planned several functions in the city.
ARL commission chairman Peter V’landys insisted that no call had been made as yet.
It comes amid the Victorian Covid-19 outbreak that saw the state plunged into a seven day lockdown.
It comes as earlier on Friday, V’landys told 2GB that “It seems it probably won’t be able to be held at the MCG”.
“We’ll do what we believe is best commercially for the game,” V’landys said. “Every government around Australia has come to us looking for it, so there’s no shortage of venues.”
NRL CEO Andrew Abdo said on Thursday that Melbourne would be given “every chance” of hosting the match.
Queensland could have back-to-back games.Source:News Corp Australia
Fox League personality Matty Johns told his SEN show on Friday that he would back the move to the new stadium.
“I would take it to North Queensland. It’s one of the heartlands of the game, they’ve been great supporters of the game for a long time,” he said.
“I just think, there’s no doubt it would sell out in 15 minutes. That’s what I’d do.
“I think it would be a great gesture from the NRL.”
At halftime in the Tigers-Dragons game, Gorden Tallis said he hoped it would be the case as “it’s our turn” for two home Origins.
Greg Alexander joked that while the last three years had seen the neutral venue, so in fact it would be NSW’s turn.
“I’ve heard Newcastle thrown up,” he said.
As a Blues assistant coach, Alexander joked “it does seem silly to play two in Queensland back-to-back”.
However he said he didn’t believe it would impact NSW too much to have the second away game relocated to Queensland.
Corey Parker said “the home ground advantage is enormous, they will come from absolutely everywhere, it’ll be a packed house, down into Suncorp for the second game”.
The crowd looks so good when it’s packed out in Townsville.Source:News Corp Australia
New Queensland Origin coach Paul Green was well behind the idea of taking it to Townsville.
“It would be a great idea to have Origin in Townsville,” he said.
“The NRL can’t toss up Canberra as a neutral venue as a reasonable argument.
“This Melbourne game was Queensland’s game, it was our turn in the calendar to have two home games, so we are the home team for the MCG game. We had the pick of the dressing rooms and we had to supply ball boys as if it was our home game.
“If that is the case, then the game can’t be held in Canberra.
“Townsville is a great option. For a start you would sell it out. The weather up there at this time of year is beautiful, it’s a footy mad area and they have just built a new stadium which would be perfect to host a marquee event like State of Origin.
“It would be like a mini-Suncorp, I am sure both teams would enjoy playing there.
“The politicians are lobbying to get the game to Townsville but we haven’t been told by the NRL at this stage whether a final decision has been made.”
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