THE NRL will have to do a hard sell to fans to support New South Wales in the “dead” third State of Origin clash with Queensland at ANZ Stadium next month to avoid a heavy financial hit.
In the worst-case scenario for the NRL, the Maroons again dug deep to beat the Blues 26-16 at Suncorp Stadium, wrapping up their 10th interstate series title in 11 years since 2006.
The victory killed off what would have been a bumper 90,000-seat Sydney sell-out for a decider had the Blues kept the series alive.
“I think we are aware of the financial implications of the situation,” said Australian Rugby League Commission chairman John Grant, who along with NRL boss Todd Greenberg attended an historic meeting in the Ross Livermore Boardroom at the official opening of Rugby League Central Queensland opposite Suncorp Stadium yesterday.
“(But) New South Wales have an opportunity to go into game three and really make a statement,” he said.
“They’re now building for the future and like all Origins have been, it will be a wonderful game.”
Greenberg said he didn’t subscribe to the “dead-rubber” theory in Origin.
“What we will see in the coming weeks is NSW starting their campaign for 2017. That will start in game three,” he said.
“There is only three Origin games every year and they all matter.”
“I hope we get a great crowd and fans come out in force to support their team like we saw on Wednesday night at a packed Suncorp Stadium.
“It’s a special moment when you attend a sold-out Origin at Suncorp. I felt very privileged to have been inside that stadium with all the fans showing their support.
“I hope NSW fans do exactly the same because their team needs them more than ever.”
Greenberg also spoke about the Semi Radradra saga, saying as far as Parramatta was concerned the big Fijian winger was coming home to honour his contract with the club through until the end of 2017.
“Parramatta have made it pretty clear Semi will be back and playing for them in their next game, which is against Cronulla in round 17 after a bye this weekend,” he said.