State of Origin would go “gangbusters” in New Zealand, according to the promoters of the NRL Nines, as the game’s powerbrokers move to further expand the reach of the interstate series.
Buoyed by the phenomenal success of Origin II in Melbourne, the NRL have signalled their intention to take the game’s showpiece to Perth and internationally to New Zealand.
A record crowd of 91,513 jammed into the MCG to witness NSW’s 26-18 win in game two to further impress Origin’s standing as rugby league’s showpiece event.
Dates for the 2016 and 2017 series have already been locked in with the MCG down to host another game in 2018.
That means Auckland’s Eden Park will have to wait until at least 2019 to host Origin.
But Dave Higgins, Director of Duco Events, who have played a leading hand in creating the incredible success of the NRL Auckland Nines, said Origin would be embraced in New Zealand.
“Origin has all the ingredients to be a success in New Zealand,” Higgins told AAP.
“It would be massive over here and I have no doubt it would sell out a 50,000-seat Eden Park.
“I am sure 10s of thousands of fans would come across from Australia and from other parts of New Zealand it would definitely be a case of demand outstripping supply.”
“It would go gangbusters over here.”
Higgins said his company had yet to be sounded out by the NRL for such a project, but they were ideally placed to help get it going given their relationship with the NRL. The Nines has sold out for its first two years.
“I believe it is a matter of when, not if, State of Origin comes to New Zealand,” Higgins said.
Wednesday’s MCG crowd was a record for an Origin match at the venue and enjoyed record TV ratings, peaking at 4.540 million people, to become the highest rating show in 2015 so far.
Origin II was the highest rating interstate game ever in Melbourne.