Walters willing to take huge disadvantage into Origin

Kevin Walters has declared the Maroons hold no fears about playing an entire series in Sydney as Queensland faces the prospect of a State of Origin blackout.

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has cast doubt over this year's Origin series after declaring it was unlikely to be contested due to coronavirus restrictions.

"I love the footy as much as everyone else. I think it's devastating we're not going to see the State of Origin this year as well," she said on Tuesday.

 

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"We always have a State of Origin, but how can you have it (during the pandemic)? Maybe in December? Let's keep our fingers crossed."

But the NRL is determined to restart its 2020 premiership season on May 28 and hold a three-game Origin series at a later date.

If Queensland border controls are still in place and Palaszczuk doesn't come to the party by granting the NRL a travel exemption, all three games of the series could be played in Sydney.

That would give NSW a huge home-ground advantage as Queensland attempt to snap a two-year losing streak in the 40th anniversary series.

But Queensland coach Walters said he had no concerns about playing in Sydney and the Maroons would embrace the challenge of beating the Blues against the odds.

"We would definitely do it," Walters told The Courier-Mail.

"It's a changing environment all the time. We've got to adapt to whatever the NRL comes up with.

"We've had some good success there in the last 10 years. It wouldn't create any problems for us. We can play the game wherever the NRL wants us to play.

"I'm sure all of our players and staff will be on board with anything they come up with."

 

 

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That appears unlikely due to social distancing guidelines, unless the game's showpiece is hosted late in the year.

Cherry-Evans said he was desperate to play Origin this year and help Queensland win back the shield after two straight losses.

"It would be pretty shattering if Origin wasn't to go ahead," Cherry-Evans said.

"It feels all right for NSW because they are holding the trophy but as a Queenslander we want that trophy back.

"That's why I hope we find a timeslot for the Origin series this year."

 

 

 

 

The State of Origin series injects $90 million into the game every year and is a television ratings bonanza.

This year's Adelaide Oval experiment is likely to be abandoned given the crowds issue, and Walters said it was important to play the series, if safe, to help lift morale.

"I'm sure our government will support anything if it's safe," he said.

"Everyone wants to see sport on their TV screens but it's got to be a safe environment where this virus doesn't have any effect on the community.

"We will be ready to go whenever the NRL says it should be played - whether that's mid-season or post-season.

 

"Mid-season allows players to get game-time into their system. Post-season, maybe the crowds will be back and we can have a real Origin atmosphere.

"It raises the spirits of everyone, particularly if Queensland win. Regardless of the result, it's a great thing for everyone involved in rugby league."

 

Originally published as Walters willing to take huge disadvantage into Origin


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