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NRL agrees to take big games to Melbourne

NRL agrees to take big games to Melbourne
April 17, 2018

The NRL will take a host of big games, including State of Origin fixtures, to Melbourne after securing a deal with the Victorian Government for a centre of excellence.

After securing $12 million to build a centre of excellence, the seven-year package will see two State of Origins, two Test matches and an All Stars contest all played out of Melbourne between 2019 and 2025.

As part of the new agreement: Holden State of Origin will be played in Melbourne in 2021 as well as 2025; Test matches involving the Kangaroos will be played in Melbourne in 2022 and 2023; and the Rugby League All Stars will be played in Melbourne in 2019.

Announcing the deal, NRL Chief Executive Todd Greenberg stated “this agreement will see some of our biggest events played in Melbourne over a seven-year cycle.

“State of Origin is the biggest sporting rivalry in the country and it will be great to further set in stone the schedule over the next period with two more matches in Melbourne.

“State of Origin will now be played at the MCG this year, followed by Perth, Adelaide and Melbourne again in 2021 and 2025.”

The deal was struck after the Victorian Government gave approval for the construction of a centre of excellence in Broadmeadows in Melbourne's outer suburbs, which the NRL and Melbourne Storm hope to use as a springboard for the growth of the game in the state.

In addition, the Victorian Government is also pushing for a Melbourne team to be admitted for next year's NRL Women's Championship.

Greenberg said the Victorian Government’s strong desire to see marquee matches showcased in Melbourne was a significant boost for the game not just in Victoria but generally, adding “All Stars is a celebration of rugby league and will for the first time be played outside of NSW or Queensland,”

“The Rugby League World Cup showed there is real passion for international Rugby League across the country and it will be on show in Melbourne in 2022 and 2023.”

Victorian Minister for Sport, Tourism and Major Events John Eren said: “These blockbusters are another chance to welcome plane-loads of visitors to our state who will spend their valuable tourism dollars, support jobs and make our economy even stronger.” 

Image: State of Origin Game II between NSW and Queensland at the MCG drew a crowd in excess of 90,000 in 2015.

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