State of Origin will return to Melbourne this year, with the series opener to be played at the MCG on June 9.
- State of Origin returns to its traditional mid-season slot after last year’s pandemic-enforced end-of-season games
- The MCG will host its tenth State of Origin match, and its first since 2018, on June 9
- Lang Park will host game two on Sunday, June 27, with game three at Sydney’s Olympic stadium on July 14
While the first game will be played on a Wednesday night, Lang Park will host the second game on Sunday, June 27, with a potential decider at Sydney’s Olympic stadium on July 14.
This year marks a return to mid-season Origin fixtures after COVID-19 forced the series to be played after the NRL grand final last year.
The games will also be played with two-and-a-half week intervals, rather than three games in three weeks, as happened in the 2020 series.
It is the first time since 2018 that Melbourne has hosted a game, and the 10th time overall since 1994.
“The last year has been incredibly challenging for Victorians with the extended lockdowns and challenges,” NRL chief executive Andrew Abdo said.
“We’re delighted to be bringing Ampol State of Origin back to the city. It will give fans an exceptional live sports experience, and bring interstate visitors back to the hotels and restaurants.”
Despite the Storm’s disproportionate contribution to the Maroons, New South Wales has a 4-1 win-loss record at the MCG, including a series-opening win in the last match at the ground in 2018.
“I have always been supportive of taking Origin to other markets outside of Sydney and Brisbane and I have particularly good memories of my first game in Melbourne as the Blues coach in 2018,” Blues coach Brad Fittler said.
“In saying that, we really need our fans to get on board for Melbourne too. We really missed not having the support of our large Blatchys Blues fan base in the final game in Brisbane last year because of COVID restrictions.”
Queensland’s only win at the stadium was a 20-12 victory in the middle of the miraculous 1995 clean sweep.
The Maroons won the three games played at Docklands in 2006, 2009 and 2012, while the Blues won the only Origin clash at Olympic Park.