Origin makes an MCG comeback
State of Origin will be back in Melbourne in 2021, with the opening showdown of this year's blockbuster NRL showdown to be played at the MCG.
Then in a significant shift, game two will be played on A Sunday night in Queensland for just the second time ever.
Game three will then revert to a Wednesday night for the final match at Stadium Australia, for a potential decider, on July 14.
NRL Chief Executive Andrew Abdo said the game was committed to showcasing rugby league to as many people as possible and the move to Melbourne, which was in lockdown last week, could be a boost for the city.
"We're excited to be taking Australia's biggest sporting brand to Melbourne for the 10th time,'' he said.
"The last year has been incredibly challenging for Victorians with the extended lockdowns and challenges. We're delighted to be bringing Ampol State of Origin back to the city. It will give fans an exceptional live sports experience, and bring interstate visitors back to the hotels and restaurants."
Maroons coach Paul Green said Queensland teams had traditionally received great support in Melbourne and he expects this to be the case again, with Storm star Cameron Munster set to play a starring role this season..
"We're really looking forward to getting down there and putting in a performance that all Maroons fans can be proud of," Green said.
"Victorians have been through a challenging period and while we now live in uncertain times, we know how much they love their sport and an Origin match at the MCG is a fantastic way to showcase our game.
"We also know how much Origin means to the people of Queensland, so it will be great to get back to Suncorp Stadium for Game Two with a really good performance under our belts."
NSW coach Brad Fittler said he'd always supported taking Origin to other markets outside of Sydney and Brisbane.
Fittler also won his first game as coach in Melbourne in 2018.
Abdo said the NRL would work with respective governments and relevant health authorities so all matches are held in a COVID-safe environment.
2021 State of Origin
Game I: Wednesday 9 June Melbourne Cricket Ground, VIC
Game II: Sunday 27 June Suncorp Stadium, QLD
Game III: Wednesday 14 July Stadium Australia, NSW
Originally published as Origin makes an MCG comeback