Origin venues for 2023 selected

The National Rugby League has announced the venues, dates and times for the 2023 State of Origin series.

Proudly branded by the NRL as “Taking Rugby League to the World”, the games will be played at the world’s three largest stadiums, with a record number of 353,601 fans, mainly Queensland and New South Wales supporters, expected to fill them to capacity to watch the three interstate clashes.

The opening game will be played at the 107,601 seat Michigan Stadium, nicknamed “The Big House”, in Ann Arbor, Michigan, on Wednesday night June 7, 2023.

Game two will be on Wednesday night June 28, 2023 at the 114,000 seat Rungrado 1st of May Stadium on Rungra Island, Pyongyang, North Korea. The launching from the half-way line of a number of medium-range ballistic missiles into the Sea of Japan will highlight the half-time entertainment.

The final game – and let’s all hope it’s a decider – will be on Wednesday night July 19, 2023, at the 132,000 seat Narendra Modi Stadium inside the Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel Sports Enclave in Ahmedabad, India.

An NRL spokesperson told The Bug: “These three exciting games will truly establish rugby league as a world game and possibly cement it as the world football code.”

“Lucklily, the enormous income generated by seat sales at such large stadia – not to mention the many, many, millions we’ll be raking in as hosting rights by these three countries – will allow the NRL to heavily subsidise attendance costs for Queensland Maroons and New South Wales Blues fans.

“We don’t want homegrown fans to suffer just because the series is being played offshore,” the spokesperson said.

“To that end, NRL Travel packages for all three games, including return air fares, three-star hotel accommodation and one buffet breakfast, will start at just $37,999 and that’s for a family of four!”