NRL to make call on Origin opener by Monday

The NRL will make a call by next Monday on whether to modify or push on with plans to hold the State of Origin series opener at the MCG.

As Melbourne’s COVID cluster continues to grow and restrictions coming back into play, the game is exploring all possible options to save its flagship event.

Nine’s Danny Weidler reports that the game’s powerbrokers will reach a verdict by the start of next week and could consider relocating game one to a new neutral location.

“NRL will make a call on Melbourne Origin by Monday next week at latest,” Weidler tweeted.

“Still hopeful and working on scenarios surrounding different capacities at MCG. Neutral venue preferred option if forced to move.”

NRL chief executive Andrew Abdo spoke to media yesterday, revealing the league had contingency plans in place in case a late change was needed.

“Clearly, State of Origin is coming up pretty soon and we need to think about what happens with Victorian State Government protocols but also with exemptions required for travel so we are monitoring it but at this stage we aren’t taking any further action,” Abdo said.

“It’s early days. At this stage, we are monitoring the situation very carefully but if we have to increase the protocols [for players] we will and if we need to consider a contingency plan for where we play Origin I, we will.

“We are looking at several venues for that but we would have to see a significant increase in the number of community cases and the potential for lockdown in Victoria before we would consider that.”

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