Shock date switch on the cards for Origin
Rugby league is set to receive its own version of Oktoberfest this year, with the 2020 State of Origin series to be played after the NRL grand final.
After weeks of conjecture about where Origin will fall this season, The Daily Telegraph can reveal plans are now being drawn up for the code's showpiece event to be staged following the competition proper.
The decision by the Australian Rugby League Commission ensures the best chance of having sell out Origin crowds - and, therefore, significantly increased revenue - attending the three-game series between NSW and Queensland.
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The decision also means that, should the NRL competition resume as planned on May 28, or even a week later, the clubs can play all 13 rounds, plus a finals series without interruption.
All of which means October suddenly shapes as the greatest month of rugby league ever.
Under the bold plan, Sydney could also host all four matches if any lingering COVID-19 restrictions remain in place.
Ideally, Origin will be played in both states before sellout crowds.
However, the NRL is also preparing for the possibility of playing in locked out stadiums - with a statewide push in NSW already underway to have all three games in Sydney if restrictions are still in place.
The move comes after Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk effectively put Origin up for tender earlier this week, sensationally ruling Brisbane out of hosting during the ongoing pandemic.
It means that should games still be locked out in October, as has already been suggested, or any type of coronavirus restrictions still in place, the Harbour City can host all three games.
Certainly the announcement of a date will be welcome news for NSW coach Brad Fittler, who has already been forced to scrap all planning his staff had done for Origin I in Adelaide.
Blues staffers had not only visited the city, but organised accommodation, gym and training fields, even which restaurants his team would eat in on certain nights.
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Now however, Fittler and his team, who meet weekly via Zoom, can start preparing in earnest to give NSW its first Origin threepeat since 2005.
Speaking on Wednesday, NSWRL boss Dave Trodden welcomed the chance to host an entire State of Origin campaign in Sydney, saying: "We won't have the same issues as Queensland".
Deputy Premier John Barilaro also backed the move after meeting with ARLC chairman Peter V'landys, NRL CEO Todd Greenberg and Project Apollo head Wayne Pearce.
"If we follow health advice and the NRL has proper protocols in place, I'd be cheering for NSW to host all three Origin games," Barilaro said.
If fans were still locked out of stadiums in October, Bankwest Stadium would be the likely Origin venue.
Maroons coach Kevin Walters has said he is happy to play all three games in NSW if required.
Originally published as Shock date switch on the cards for Origin