State of Origin 2021: NSW braced for $10 million boost after Blues’ thumping win Loading 3rd party ad content Loading 3rd party ad content Loading 3rd party ad content Loading 3rd party ad content

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By Christian Nicolussi

The record-breaking win by Brad Fittler’s Blues in Townsville has guaranteed Origin III will generate an additional $10m in revenue for the NRL and the NSW economy.

That figure could yet surge beyond $15m should the Maroons win game two in Brisbane and force the series into a decider on July 14 at Stadium Australia.

As Queensland Rugby League boss Bruce Hatcher ruled out sending yet another SOS to Wayne Bennett to help coach Paul Green, the Herald can reveal the Townsville thumping has quickly put paid to fears the only Origin game in Sydney would attract a small crowd to watch a potential Queensland clean sweep.

The NRL handed the Maroons every chance of winning the series early by letting them host the first two games north of the Tweed.

But a capacity crowd of 80,000 at Stadium Australia is now expected to turn up and cheer on the Blues - either in a decider or to celebrate what could be the first 3-0 series whitewash by NSW in 21 years.

Sources with knowledge of the Origin III financial estimates told the Herald the NRL will generate an additional $5m in ticket sales, based on an extra 30,000 fans paying an average $175 for a ticket.

Something to smile about ... Latrell Mitchell will be watched by 80,000 at Stadium Australia for Origin III.

Something to smile about ... Latrell Mitchell will be watched by 80,000 at Stadium Australia for Origin III.Credit:Getty Images

The economic revenue for the state will also be boosted by an additional $5m based on hotels, restaurants and tourism, according to a source with knowledge of the modelling. That figure could sit as high as $10m should the series still be alive when Queenslanders make the trek south.

NSW Rugby League chief executive Dave Trodden said the 50-6 win during the week would now make their Stadium Australia game a much easier sell.

“Winning is good for business for everybody,” Trodden said. “It’s important for us we give our people every reason to come along and support us for game three. We’re not getting ahead of ourselves. Wednesday was great, but nothing has been won yet.”

Trodden said the NRL pockets the revenue from State of Origin, the states receive an annual grant from the NRL and “everybody benefits if the pie is bigger”. NSW or Queensland do not receive an extra bonus for winning the series, however.

NSW fans will be treated to a decider or rare series cleansweep on July 14.

NSW fans will be treated to a decider or rare series cleansweep on July 14.

A decider in game three in Sydney could also yield long-term benefits for the NRL, too, with the game’s bosses ab about to enter negotiations with TV networks for the next free-to-air broadcast deal.

Having Queensland lead 2-0 heading into a final game in front of a half-filled Stadium Australia would have been disastrous for ratings.

Hatcher quipped he had “only stopped crying about the result around midday on Thursday”, but coach Green had the state’s full blessing.

Bennett conjured up a Queensland miracle last year, but Hatcher said there were no plans to reach out to the supercoach again to assist Green and inspire the players.

“There’s no temptation whatsoever to [call Bennett], everything we do is calculated, open and honest, and Paul Green is experienced, decent and he will do what he has to do,” Hatcher told the Herald.

“It’s not the Queensland way, we don’t do it that way [to call in help]. We didn’t get anyone on the phone when Wayne was coaching, and we won’t get anyone on the phone now.

“Paul has very significant autonomy, we have faith in what he brings, and if you look at the history of Origin over 40 years, the big things are loyalty and commitment, and making sure you appoint the bloke you have confidence in and stick with them. We’ll be very competitive in Brisbane.”

Thousands of tickets had already been sold for the stand-alone weekend game at Suncorp Stadium, which was a big reason the NRL could not shift games two and three when trying to work out what to do with the series opener once Melbourne was off ruled out because of the local COVID outbreak.

Townsville had 28,000 fans watch Wednesday’s blowout at Queensland Country Bank Stadium after Annastacia Palaszczuk’s Government paid $8.3m for the hosting rights.

Fittler has refused to get carried away with the whopping scoreline in the far north. The only team change could be Sydney Roosters backrower Angus Crichton who was unavailable for the first game because of suspension.

Meanwhile, NRL chief executive Andrew Abdo denied the game had backed down on their recent high contact crackdown during the Origin opener, and said: “I’m very comfortable with the performance of the on-field referee [Gerard Sutton] and the bunker officials.

“The consistency of us wanting to eliminate head high tackles has not changed. Of course, the benefit of the bunker is having a number of different angles and taking into the account a number of factors is always important. I’m very comfortable with the officiating.”

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