Traditionally, NRL fans have always presumed that the heavyweight battle that is Origin, would be fought amongst the two states, in Queensland and New South Wales respectively.
Of late however, we have seen games taken to Melbourne to increase Origin and rugby league awareness, and it has worked in the past.
Now, the New Zealand Rugby League have hatched a bold plan, one that they intend to step up – that would see them host an Origin game in the future, at Auckland’s Eden Park.
On the back of hosting the annual Trans Tasman Test back in April, both the NZRL and the Eden Park Trust are challenging Victoria for the right to shift a QLD or NSW Origin match, to New Zealand.
Although the possibility is one that has been bandied about before, Jim Doyle, the NZRL Chief Executive, says that the organisation now plans to present a formal bid to the Australian Rugby League Commission.
“We’ll certainly be working with the (ARLC) and the venue holder to bring an Origin match to New Zealand,” Doyle said.
On behalf of the NRL, a spokesperson said: “We’re focused on finalising discussions with the Victorian Government before we consider entering into other markets.”
For the NZRL, it is all about working with the ARLC, in order to get as many high-profile games hosted in NZ, and to take the opportunities they get, to do that.
“We are talking about other NRL clubs playing here, but we’re also interested in having other NRL teams here and an Origin game would be fantastic to have,” he said.
With the concern from some that Origin should remain within Australia, Doyle says that there is a bigger market than most think, for Origin in NZ.
“More people watch State of Origin in New Zealand than Super Rugby,” he said.
NSW Blues coach Ricky Stuart is also behind the idea, saying he is not opposed to games being played across the Tasman.
“I’d rather take an Origin game to New Zealand before Melbourne, because they have a rugby league base there,” Stuart said.
“I cannot believe we are looking at money from the Victorian Government . . . it’s disgraceful.
“It’s not fair to our fans and our supporters that we have to take a game to Melbourne of Origin calibre.”