Excitement builds for State of Origin

MORE teams and an extra division are just some of the innovations taking place in this year's Oztag State of Origin tournament to be played at the BCU International Stadium tomorrow.

There's never any love lost when New South Wales face Queensland on a sports field and the action at the Stadium tomorrow is set to show that Oztag is no different.

"The excitement is getting really intense for this year's Origin," tournament director, TV personality and well-known former NRL referee Bill Harrigan said.

"The anticipation from the Queenslanders in particular is enormous.

"They were whipped seven divisions to one at last year's inaugural Origin but they left Coffs Harbour very impressed and looking forward to this year's event.

"I'm told the buzz about Origin at their recent Queensland State Cup was electric. They also believe they have a better-than-good chance of winning in a number of divisions this time around, but I'm sure the NSW teams will have something to say about that," he said.

This year's State of Origin will see the inclusion of a Mixed Over 30s division for the first time and a total of nine divisions will contest this year's tournament.

Tomorrow's matches will begin at 9.30am and finish at 4.15pm.

Entry is free and Harrigan insists that everyone is welcome to attend.

Last year, Coffs Harbour hosted the three major Oztag competitions, the NSW State Cup, the first State of Origin and the National Championships.

This year the BCU Stadium has already played host to the NSW Senior State Cup.

"Coffs Harbour has been behind Oztag from the start and that support has paid off with the regular return of the teams to play their major competitions. It's a great vote of confidence in the city and the region," Coffs Harbour Mayor Councillor Keith Rhoades said.

"Each time the Oztag teams come for a tournament, we're able to introduce new visitors to the excellent quality of the facilities and fields at the BCU Stadium, as well as the attractions of the city itself.
"It's a relationship I hope to see continue to grow in the future."

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