Townsville to host State of Origin opener on biosecurity advice
Townsville is set to host the first State of Origin match amid Victoria’s growing COVID-19 outbreak.
Queensland, New South Wales and the ACT made bids to host this year’s opener, which was due to be played at the Melbourne Cricket Ground next week.
It’s understood the Palaszczuk Government offered up to $5 million to host the game at Queensland Country Bank Stadium.
NRL CEO Andrew Abdo told Jim Wilson the NRL fought hard for the opener to remain at the MCG, but when that became impossible, “a few considerations came into account”.
“We’re not claiming this to be a neutral venue.
“First and foremost, our biosecurity advisors gave us a view on where the least amount of risk was in terms of disruptions for the game.
“Then you have to consider this a brand new stadium, and … the fact this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to reward the tens of thousands of volunteers, fans, participants in that region.”
Press PLAY below to hear his explanation in full