Walters’ Origin bombshell: Adelaide won’t happen
Queensland coach Kevin Walters has dropped a State of Origin bombshell, claiming the series opener in Adelaide could be axed because of the coronavirus pandemic.
The ARL Commission will meet on Thursday to discuss a number of matters, including the future of State of Origin, the code's showpiece event which generates an estimated $150 million a year for the code.
State of Origin was scheduled to make its debut in South Australia for Game One on June 3 - a series launch was even held in Adelaide last month - but Walters believes the COVID-19 outbreak will force the event to be delayed.
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The possible axing of Origin from Adelaide Oval would be a crushing promotional blow, with Walters suggesting all three games could be held in Sydney in October _ scuppering the end-of-season Kangaroo tour.
"I think given the current climate, where the game is at, they will have to move it from Adelaide," Walters told The Rush Hour with Dobbo on Triple M.
"Certainly June 3 was game one … it won't happen in Adelaide.
"So if it does happen, some suggestions have been all three games in Sydney with no crowds, but Origin will make it on TV screens around the world which will be a huge boost for the game.
"There's every chance of playing in front of empty stands and it's my thoughts that Origin will go ahead, that's just my personal opinion, but when it will be scheduled, I don't know.
"I think if Origin had to be played in October, we would go ahead and do that, that's best for the game."
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Walters said he wasn't sure which Sydney venues would host three Origin games, but insisted the spectacle had to go ahead for the sake of a global television audience.
"Grounds weren't mentioned, but all three games would possibly be in Sydney," he said.
"The thing about Origin is the fans, the passion they bring for the whole week and it would be a totally different experience to see Origin in an empty stadium.
"If we can do it and everything is cleared, the key is to get Origin on TV, get people talking about it and rugby league.
"There's lot of different scenarios, the NRL is working through everything. There's a lot of work to be done yet by those leaders in our game Todd Greenberg (NRL CEO) and Peter V'landys (ARLC chairman) around Origin and where it sits.
"By all reports, the Kangaroo tour is gone."
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Walters praised Greenberg and V'landys for doing everything possible to continue the NRL premiership.
"The NRL is doing its best to keep rugby league going, because if it drops off, they may not recover," he said.
"You see so much happening around the world, we need those smart people to get a vaccine (for coronavirus) happening right now.
"Everybody is hurting in this great world of ours."
V'landys insists no decision has made been on the Origin opener in Adelaide.
"That's just speculation," he said. "We're meeting [this week] and we'll be discussing many things including State of Origin."