25 May 2012

Townsville to host test, Origin stays on Wednesdays

7:15 am on 25 May 2012

The New Zealand rugby league team will play Australia in Townsville on October the 13th, State of Origin will remain on Wednesday nights, and NRL games could be played on Thursday nights.

A meeting by the Australian Rugby League Commission in Melbourne confirmed Townsville would host the October test match and backed the retention of a stand-alone representative weekend for the mid-season Test between Australia and New Zealand, as well as confirming ongoing support for the highly criticised City-Country pre-Origin series.

There will be a further concentration of byes around Origin time to minimise the impact on NRL clubs, while the ARL committed to taking additional measures to help New South Wales and Queensland players with their recovery from the gruelling matches.

While locking in Wednesday night Origin games, the Commission also opened the door to playing NRL games could be played on Thursday nights. With the initial offer from television rights holders Nine and Fox Sports already on the table, the Commission has started negotiations with the Seven and Ten networks and has appointed corporate adviser Greenhill Caliburn to assist in the TV broadcast negotiations which are hoped to hit the $1 billion mark.