State of Origin will be headed to uncharted territory with the NRL striking a multimillion-dollar deal with the South Australian government to play a historic match at the Adelaide Oval in 2020.
The NRL has made no secret of its desire to take at least one of the three Origin games on the road each series, and has now added Adelaide to the list after recently locking in an interstate clash at the new Perth Stadium in 2019.
NRL.com understands the match will be game one of the series on a Wednesday night or game two on a Sunday to ensure the historic match won’t be a dead rubber.
Barring the 1987 State of Origin appearance in Los Angeles, the matches in Perth and Adelaide will be the first two games played in Australia outside of the three eastern seaboard states.
The NRL has played just five games in Adelaide since the demise of the Adelaide Rams in 1998 – the latest a nailbiting 25-24 victory by the Mitchell Pearce-led Sydney Roosters over the Melbourne Storm in June last year.
This year’s opening match of the State of Origin series in Melbourne on June 6 will be the ninth time Victoria has hosted a game between NSW and Queensland, with the last match at the Melbourne Cricket Ground in 2015 attracting 91,513 fans.
Dogs chewing their nails
There are a few nervous Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs players in the wake of Sunday’s election boilover.
NRL.com understands a number of Bulldogs players have official third-party agreements. These are sourced externally from the club and have been given the seal of approval by the NRL.
Under NRL rules, clubs aren’t allowed to source third-party arrangements, but ousted chairman Ray Dib is a well-connected businessman and a lot of the organisations who were once willing to dig into their pockets to support players also have a strong bond and loyalty to Dib.
The players are aware of that. Now the Lynne Anderson-led ticket has taken control of the club, there’s a fear those with strong connections to Dib and his old board may rethink their investment in certain players.
It wouldn’t be the first time this has happened. When Roy Spagnolo lost his place as chairman of the Parramatta Eels board, a number of players allegedly stopped receiving their third-party payments.
The third-party arrangement is a legal document, however NRL.com understands most of those contracts have get-out clauses that allow the contributor to quite easily pull the plug on the deal.
This has the potential to be one of Anderson’s first big tests as club chair. The last thing the Bulldogs need is a bunch of disgruntled players worrying about their deals falling through. Watch this space.
Fiery fan apologises to Klemmer
The fan who surprisingly abused Bulldogs firebrand David Klemmer in the sheds after a game last year has apologised for his behaviour.
Klemmer was around teammates at Belmore RSL Club last Thursday night in support of former chairman Ray Dib’s election campaign, however there were a few raised eyebrows when the antagonist who riled the big forward was spotted.
The NSW and Australian representative was furious last year after the fan criticised him in the inner sanctum of the dressing sheds for lacking an offload in his game.
There were a few choice words exchanged at the time as result of the unsolicited “coaching advice”.
That particular fan chose last week’s members’ forum to apologise to Klemmer. Needless to say there were a few intrigued onlookers as the pair spoke. It seems as though there was a peaceful resolution. The famous Klemmer crazy eyes were nowhere to be seen.
Hampton puts heat on Coote
We keep hearing Ben Hampton is a big chance of stealing the North Queensland Cowboys No.1 jersey off Lachlan Coote, who is off contract at the end of this season.
While coach Paul Green is tinkering with the idea of shifting Michael Morgan to fullback in a move that would mean Te Maire Martin and Johnathan Thurston combine in the halves, Hampton has done all the right things in the pre-season.
He will start this weekend’s trial in the No.1 jersey. There are murmurs out of Townsville that Coote’s position in the side is under serious threat and he may be forced to look elsewhere for a regular starting spot.
There aren’t many clubs on the lookout for a fullback for this year, and those who are would more than likely hold fire in the hope of jagging a big name. Coote’s a player with tremendous ability but the Cowboys don’t have a shortage of star power at their disposal.
Options thin on the ground
One of the key items on the agenda of Tuesday’s chief executives’ conference was the brainstorming of ideas surrounding the overhaul of the NRL’s third-party system.
As expected, more problems than solutions were raised. However, NRL CEO Todd Greenberg has asked for an expression of interest from club bosses to form a TPA committee responsible for exploring alternative options. They weren’t rushing to put their hands up.
Benji stays home for new arrival
Benji Marshall was a notable absentee from the Wests Tigers squad that has flown to Cairns to face the Cowboys this weekend.
While his teammates jetted off for the four-day camp in the Sunshine State, the veteran playmaker has remained in Sydney for the birth of his first child with his wife, Zoe.
The views in this article do not necessarily express the opinions of the NRL, ARLC, NRL clubs or state associations.