State of Origin dead rubbers may be staged at neutral venues in future to avoid what many fear will occur in Sydney next month – a near empty ANZ Stadium hosting game three.
A poor crowd is expected at July 13’s Origin III after Queensland sealed their 10th series win in 11 years with a 26-16 win at a sold out Suncorp Stadium on Wednesday night.
NRL CEO Todd Greenberg urged Blues fans to show their support but said using neutral venues for a game three dead rubber in future was “in the mix”.
The NRL had already revealed they would look at taking Origin games to venues such as Auckland and Perth from 2018.
Queensland hosts two games next year.
“After that we have to give serious consideration over what the cycle looks like in a five-to-10-year period,” Greenberg said.
Asked if Brisbane or Sydney could lose dead rubber games to neutral venues in future, Greenberg said: “That’s all in the mix.
“That’s not just commercial, it’s about growing the game.
“To grow the game you take the biggest asset – our players – into new markets.
“We are happy to explore all of those things.”
Greenberg kept his fingers crossed a decent crowd would attend game three in what looms as NSW skipper Paul Gallen’s Origin swansong.
“I hope we get a great crowd. I hope NSW fans come out in force and support their team – their team will need them more than ever,” he said.
ARL Commission chairman John Grant admitted game three could be a hard sell in Sydney.
“I think we are cognisant of the financial implications,” he said.
“We have a very big stadium to fill – 88,000.
“We have already got 20,000 sold plus 20,000 members so 40,000 is a good platform – we will build from there.”
Greenberg wouldn’t budge from his stance that the Origin trophy isn’t lifted until after the third game.
Queensland captain Cameron Smith had hoped the NRL would reconsider as he contemplated raising the trophy at a largely empty ANZ Stadium next month.
Smith believed the NRL could bend the rules to ensure teams receive the trophy after game two if they have sealed the series by then at home.
“I remember having this discussion a couple of years ago with NSW,” Greenberg said.
“I can understand the sentiment from Cameron.
“The reality is that it is a three match series and the trophy is always presented at the end of the series.”