NSW selects Tweed as Origin training base
LOOK out Queensland, the Blues are coming after the Tweed pulled off the coup of a lifetime to have the NSW Origin side set up camp here in 2017.
In 2017, the future is ours. That is the mantra the Tweed wants the NSW Blues to adopt when the side plots the end of Queensland Origin dominance from just 10km south of the border, after relocating from its Coffs Harbour base of the past three years.
NSW Rugby League chairman Dr George Peponis OAM and Blues coach Laurie Daley flew to the Tweed on Friday to announce the side would set up camp in Kingscliff in the lead-up to the 2017 State of Origin games one (May 31) and three (July 12) at Suncorp Stadium.
Peponis, who played 47 games for Canterbury in a career spanning eight seasons from 1974-82, said the Tweed's proximity to Brisbane, as well as the quality of the facilities and partnerships NSWRL had formed with key stakeholders, had been a major factor in choosing Kingscliff as the team's new base.
"We are pleased to come to the Tweed to prepare for the series and are really thankful to Geoff Provest MP, the NSW State Member for Tweed, and the Tweed Shire Council for making it possible,” Peponis said.
The Blues side will arrive on the Tweed a week before each game; the day after the players are named in Sydney. They will train locally at Cudgen Leagues Club before travelling to Brisbane by bus on the eve of Origin, the following Tuesday. Daley said he believed the move to the Tweed would result in better preparation for the two Brisbane Origin matches, with less training time lost in travel.
"We wanted to change our approach to the Brisbane games and have less time in Brisbane, as well as not losing a day in travel as we have done in the past,” Daley said.
"In addition, the Tweed has a strong league history and it will be great to have the support of the community as we prepare for the series.”
Mr Provest said months of work had gone into securing the Blues' Origin camps on the Tweed.
"Bringing our 2017 State of Origin team to train at the very gates of Maroon territory is a clever tactic and football fans and the wider Tweed community will be as excited about this announcement as I am,” he said.
"It brings sports people to our town twice a year which will be great for local kids.
"It showcases our area, not just for NSW, but for the whole country.”