The Ampol State of Origin Series will return to the Melbourne Cricket Ground, with the NRL today confirming the iconic venue will host Game One of the 2021 series.
Suncorp Stadium, the venue synonymous with State of Origin, will host its second ever Sunday night Origin encounter, on June 27, while Stadium Australia has been named as the venue for the potential decider, on July 14.
The NRL confirmed that the 2021 Ampol State of Origin series would be as follows:
- Game I: Wednesday 9 June Melbourne Cricket Ground, VIC
- Game II: Sunday 27 June Suncorp Stadium, QLD
- Game III: Wednesday 14 July Stadium Australia, NSW
NRL Chief Executive Andrew Abdo said the game was committed to showcasing rugby league to as many people as possible in a COVID-safe environment and the MCG represents an important opportunity to do that.
“We’re excited to be taking Australia’s biggest sporting brand to Melbourne for the 10th time,’’ he said.
“The last year has been incredibly challenging for Victorians with the extended lockdowns and challenges. 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.”
Victorian Minister for Tourism, Sport and Major Events Martin Pakula said: “Victoria is the home of the biggest sporting events and we’re thrilled to be welcoming State of Origin back to the MCG.
“This is a win for all sports fans and we’ll work with the NRL to ensure that Melbourne puts on a spectacular show while protecting the health of the wider community.”
Queensland Maroons coach Paul Green said Queensland teams had traditionally received great support in Melbourne and he expects this to be the case again.
“We’re really looking forward to getting down there and putting in a performance that all Maroons fans can be proud of,” Green said.
“Victorians have been through a challenging period and while we now live in uncertain times, we know how much they love their sport and an Origin match at the MCG is a fantastic way to showcase our game.
“We also know how much Origin means to the people of Queensland, so it will be great to get back to Suncorp Stadium for Game Two with a really good performance under our belts.”
Brydens Lawyers NSW Blues coach Brad Fittler said: “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.
“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.
“We have plenty of Blatchys seats available and would love to see our current fans and new fans proudly wearing the blue wig.”
Tickets for all three matches will be on sale to State and Club ticketed members today (Monday, February 22) at 10am AEDT and for the general public tomorrow (Tuesday, February 23) at 1pm AEDT.
Tickets will be available from $49 via nrl.com/tickets. Tickets are also available for the Blatchy Blues and Maroon Member supporter bays from $80 for Members and $84 for general public.
Mr Abdo said the NRL would work with respective governments and relevant health authorities so all matches are held in a COVID-safe environment.
The Ampol State of Origin Series is supported by the Victorian Government through their tourism agency Visit Victoria.