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State of Origin heads back to Optus Stadium

The National Rugby League (NRL) and the Western Australian Government have announced that the State of Origin Series will return to Perth’s Optus Stadium in 2022.

Next year’s game will mark the second-ever edition of the interstate contest between the New South Wales Blues and the Queensland Maroons held in Western Australia. Optus Stadium will host game two of the 2022 series in June next year.

The move is in line with the NRL’s policy of one neutral venue and one home venue for each of the states in the three-match series. In February, the NRL announced that State of Origin would return to the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) this year.

The iconic 100,000-capacity venue will host the first game of the series on June 9 before Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane stages the second game on June 27. The series will conclude at Sydney’s Stadium Australia (formerly ANZ Stadium) on July 14.

The NRL last month decided that Adelaide Oval will host a match in 2023 following the success of its inaugural game last year. A sell-out crowd of 59,721 filled Optus Stadium in 2019 as the Blues defeated the Maroons in game two of the series, in one of the first ever major events at the then new stadium.

Australian Rugby League commissioner, Peter Beattie, said the success of Perth’s debut as an Origin venue in 2019 ensured the Series would return next year. “State of Origin is the biggest brand in Australian sport and it now has a truly national footprint,” Beattie said.

“When we first took Origin to Perth in 2019 the event was so popular it broke the ground record at the time. We’re looking forward to building on that success next year. Perth deserves to host Origin again and we are privileged to bring the contest back.”

The 2022 State of Origin Series in Perth is supported by the Western Australia Government through its tourism agency, Tourism WA. The 2019 game remains Optus Stadium’s second-biggest crowd, behind only the 61,241 gate for the 2019 Bledisloe Cup rugby union clash between Australia and New Zealand.

For the 2019 fixture, the Western Australian Government said close to 11,700 people visited the state, spending more than A$19m (£10.5m/€12.2m/$14.7m) and staying nearly 69,500 combined nights.

The success of WA’s 2019 State of Origin sparked further commitments by the NRL and the state government to bring more league games to the west. This included the NRL Nines tournament held in February last year, which attracted 3,783 visitors to WA, who spent more than A$5.7m.

Western Australia Premier Mark McGowan said: “On much of the east coast, the State of Origin is as big as it gets in terms of sporting events. My Government is delighted to partner with the NRL to bring State of Origin back to WA – for local fans and the multimillion dollar boost it will provide to the WA economy, tourism, hospitality and local jobs.”

On November 18, Suncorp Stadium welcomed a crowd of 49,155 for the State of Origin finale between Queensland and New South Wales, at the time marking the biggest attendance in world sport since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020.