State of Origin will be returning to Melbourne for the first time in three years, with a series-opener at the MCG.

State of Origin will be returning to Melbourne for the first time in three years, with the MCG announced as the venue for the series opener on June 9th.

Suncorp Stadium will host the second match on June 27th, before the series wraps up at Stadium Australia on July 14th.

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“We’re excited to be taking Australia’s biggest sporting brand to Melbourne for the 10th time,” he said.

“The last year has been incredibly challenging for Victorians with the extended lockdowns and challenges,” said NRL chief executive Andrew Abdo.

“We’re delighted to be bringing Ampol State of Origin back to the city.”

In a statement from the governing body, Abdo said the NRL would work with respective governments and relevant health authorities so all matches are held in a COVID-safe environment.

The last time the sides met at the MCG, in 2018, the Blues won 22-12.

Victorian sports and tourism minister Martin Pakula labelled the announcement “a win for all sports fans”.

“Victoria is the home of the biggest sporting events and we’re thrilled to be welcoming State of Origin back to the MCG,” he said.

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With a strong link between the Melbourne Storm and the Maroons, most notably through the performances of Cameron Smith, Greg Inglis, Billy Slater, and Cooper Cronk in the past, Queensland will be looking at this fixture as a de facto home game.

“We’re really looking forward to getting down there and putting in a performance that all Maroons fans can be proud of,” coach Paul Green said.

“Victorians have been through a challenging period and while we now live in uncertain times, we know how much they love their sport and an Origin match at the MCG is a fantastic way to showcase our game.”

If all goes well, the Maroons could lock up the series on home soil in game two.

“We also know how much Origin means to the people of Queensland, so it will be great to get back to Suncorp Stadium for Game Two with a really good performance under our belts,” Green said.

Despite ceding the advantage to the opposition, Blues’ coach Brad Fittler backed the move.

“I have always been supportive of taking Origin to other markets outside of Sydney and Brisbane and I have particularly good memories of my first game in Melbourne as the Blues coach in 2018,” he said.

“In saying that we really need our fans to get on board for Melbourne too. We really missed not having the support of our large Blatchy’s Blues fan base in the final game in Brisbane last year because of COVID restrictions. 

“We have plenty of Blatchy’s seats available and would love to see our current fans and new fans proudly wearing the blue wig.”

Tickets for all three matches are on sale now to state and club ticketed members, and will go on sale for the general public on Tuesday.

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