Townsville is next in line for state of origin as opener is forced to leave the MCG due to Victoria’s latest Covid outbreak
- The State of Origin opener on June 9 could be moved to Townsville, Queensland
- The match is currently taking place at the Melbourne Cricket Ground
- Victoria was shut down from Friday morning due to the Covid outbreak
Queensland could get a rare State of Origin advantage with Townsville, next in line to host Game 1 if the opener is forced to move from the MCG.
The NRL hopes a shift from Melbourne won’t be necessary, but Queensland Country Bank Stadium has been locked up as a backup option for the June 9 clash.
Should Origin I be moved to Townsville, it would mean that the Maroons will play back-to-back games in their home state, with game two being played in Brisbane on June 27.
Queensland could get a rare State of Origin advantage with Townsville, next in line to host Game 1 if the opener is forced to move from the MCG. Game 3 of Brisbane’s State of Origin 2020 is shown
Sydney will then host match three on July 14.
It would be the first time since 2017 that a home state has hosted two games in a series.
It comes as Melbourne Storm moved their next home game to Queensland, with NRL boss Peter V’landys saying Friday that Origin’s opening game in the MCG is unlikely to take place.
The Storm announced on Friday that their round 13 game against Gold Coast on June 5 had been moved from AAMI Park to Sunshine Coast Stadium.
Melbourne has indefinitely extended their training camp on the Sunshine Coast, with Victoria in a seven-day lockdown due to a COVID-19 outbreak.
Storm chief Justin Rodski said it was disappointing not to play in front of a home crowd at AAMI Park after the team spent most of last season in Queensland.
Victoria was shut down from Friday morning due to the latest Covid outbreak
“This was not an easy decision given the impact COVID has already had on our members and fans in Victoria in 2020 and again in 2021,” said Rodski.
“Unfortunately, given the growing uncertainty in Victoria and the advice to our club, we think this is the best outcome.”
Earlier Friday, V’landys admitted that the June 9 Origin game, just four days later, would likely have to be shifted from the MCG.
V’landys told Nine Radio that talks with the Victorian government were underway and a decision was expected on Saturday.
He mentioned concerns about a possible lack of audience and atmosphere in the cavernous location.
“You know, when a partner is down, you don’t take advantage of it, you don’t kick them, so we’re going to talk to them more today,” V’landys said.
But it looks like we probably won’t be able to stick with the MCG. But at the same time, we have to respect our partner, but we will make a decision today or tomorrow. ‘
A normally busy Bourke Street Mall in Melbourne will be seen abandoned on Friday