The NSW Government has made a last-gasp bid to host the opening State of Origin series match at Parramatta’s Bankwest Stadium, according to Blues coach Brad Fittler.
With the MCG in doubt to host the series opener due to fresh COVID-19 cases, which have resulted in AFL crowd lockouts this weekend, Townsville has firmed as a likely replacement venue. That’s despite an initial plan to use a neutral venue, such as Canberra or Adelaide.
But after the Queensland Government upped the ante on Townsville, NSW politicians have responded in a bid to pinch the game, Fittler revealed on Sunday.
“It is what it is, I won’t be part of the discussions of where it’s played. I know the NSW Government have approached Peter V’landys as well and offered up Bankwest Stadium. I believe they’re making the decision tomorrow,” Fittler said on Sports Sunday.
Fittler said that playing in Townsville and Brisbane for the opening two matches would be a massive disadvantage for NSW, which lost last year’s series in a Maroons ambush.
“It would make it infinitely harder but carrying an underdog tag in State of Origin has always been a good thing, so I’ll accept that,” Fittler said.
The third and final match will be played at Sydney’s Stadium Australia, yet the Blues may have already lost the series by that point if Queensland seal Townsville as the game one host and make the most of home ground advantage.
Sydney-Brisbane-Sydney would make for a more traditional Origin schedule, with one team hosting the first and last matches of the series.
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