Queensland turns up the heat in NRL grand final bid
PREMIER Annastacia Palaszczuk has turned up the heat on the NRL to deliver Queensland a grand final and demanded a State of Origin game at Suncorp Stadium this year.
Palaszczuk on Friday green-light the NRL's season resumption on May 28 by opening Queensland's borders for teams to travel in and out of the state and local clubs to train at home.
But the Premier's decision did not come without a request as Palaszczuk ramped up Queensland's bid to poach the 2020 NRL grand final from Sydney.
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The location of this year's grand final has come under scrutiny given ANZ Stadium, Allianz Stadium and the SCG are scheduled to be unavailable, opening the door for Queensland to launch a fresh bid for the decider.
In a conversation with ARL Commission chairman Peter V'landys, Palaszczuk backed Queensland's case for the grand final.
The Premier also requested at least one Origin game be held at Suncorp Stadium to honour the 40th anniversary since Arthur Beetson led the Maroons on to Lang Park in 1980.
"I said I was as keen as anyone else to see the NRL return and I meant it," Palaszczuk said.
"I always say, we work best when we work together.
"First round games will be played in Queensland and of course I put in a bid for a local grand final and we all look forward to hosting the State of Origin."
Just last month, Palaszczuk dropped a bombshell when she suggested Queensland was unlikely to host an Origin game this year because of the coronavirus pandemic.
That sparked speculation New South Wales would receive all three games for the first time in State of Origin's 40-year history in what shaped as a crushing blow for Queensland rugby league fans.
But Palaszczuk made it clear in talks with V'landys that Queensland must host at least one Origin game.
V'landys will have no problem with that request, ensuring Queensland fans can celebrate the legacy of Beetson with a 40th birthday bash at Suncorp Stadium in November.
Queensland Rugby League chairman Bruce Hatcher welcomed the prospect of a Beetson Origin celebration at Suncorp.
"Thankfully we will still be playing Origin in November," he said.
"Given Queensland is pretty well advanced on NSW in terms of control of the virus I don't see any reason why we can't have one game up here.
"The Queensland Government was saying they weren't in a position to say whether we could play here or not. Now it seems to be trending the right way I can't see any reason why we can't.
"It (Suncorp) is the spiritual home of Origin and we can't forget Artie Beetson's legacy in all of this.
"We need an Origin game in Queensland to honour the great Artie Beetson."