State of Origin will suffer a $5 million blow with the event’s historic debut at Adelaide Oval this season destined for the scrapheap.
NRL innovation committee chairman Wayne Pearce says rugby league’s inaugural Origin incursion into South Australia will almost certainly become a casualty of the coronavirus pandemic that has rocked world sport.
State of Origin has been played in Melbourne and Perth in the past two years and rugby league’s showpiece event was set to spread its tentacles to Adelaide for the 2020 series opener on June 3.
While Pearce is adamant Origin will be played this season, the ARL Commissioner concedes a Queensland-NSW spectacular in South Australia is facing the axe.
The South Australian government paid between $5 million and $8 million to snare Origin I, but a crowd lockout at Adelaide Oval to combat COVID-19 would rob the city of an estimated $15 million in tourism.
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The Origin series was poised to head to Adelaide this year. Photo by Mark Brake/Getty Images.Source:Getty Images
“It (Origin I) is unlikely to be in Adelaide because there would be no crowds allowed,” Pearce said.
“The Adelaide game was heavily dependent on the South Australian government attracting tourist dollars for their economy, but without a crowd I imagine it’s not appealing for the government.”
Should the Adelaide venture be put on ice, NSW would be favoured to receive two games this season because Queensland enjoyed a home-ground advantage with an Origin double at Suncorp Stadium in 2017.
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Suncorp is slated to host Game Three in July this year to celebrate the 40th anniversary of Origin, but that date may yet be pushed back to accommodate a relaunch of the NRL season.
Queensland Rugby League chairman Bruce Hatcher hopes the code can overcome the coronavirus saga in time to save State of Origin this season.
“I hate using the word desperate, but I just want to see Origin happen, it’s almost our reason for being,” Hatcher said.
The series will be played in Sydney and Brisbane again. Picture by Sarah Reed.Source:News Corp Australia
“It’s such a superb competition. It’s something that just about every player who’s eligible aspires to play.
“The bond, mateship, passion, respect for Queensland and the 40-year history of Origin … you don’t have to explain why you want to see it played.
“It’s the last thing I’d cancel. I’d cancel my last meal before I cancelled Origin.”
QRL chief executive Rob Moore is keen to seek clarity from the ARL Commission and the newly-formed innovation committee, which will meet again on Thursday to map out the 2020 season structure.
“Everyone wants to see Origin played, but how it’s played is so up in the air at the moment,” he said.
“We understand the difficulty the NRL is going through at the moment. The first step is to work out what’s going on and at some point myself and Dave Trodden (NSWRL boss) would like to have a discussion around Origin.”
Originally published asOrigin will not head to Adelaide in 2020
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