Perth to host State of Origin game two in 2019
The NRL has confirmed game two of the 2019 State of Origin series will be played at Perth’s new state-of-the-art Optus Stadium.
The fixture will be played on June 23, 2019, the first time an Origin match has been played outside the eastern states apart from the 1987 match in California.
The move was first put forward in 2016, with Todd Greenberg anticipating the concept would be embraced the way it had in Melbourne.
“We saw Melbourne embrace State of Origin in 2015 and we expect Perth to do the same in 2019,” Greenberg said at the time.
“By then Perth will have a state-of-the-art facility which will be a fitting new venue for the biggest sporting event in the country.
“Taking Origin to new venues has huge benefits for the game.
“It grows the game in other markets and showcases our premium product to a new audience.”
However, there has been criticism with the NRL’s decision to play on a Sunday night, with game two between NSW and Queensland falling by 200,000 people across the five metro capital cities.
Nine’s broadcast reached an average 2.12m five-city metro viewers, down from the 2.32m who tuned into game one on Wednesday, June 6.
The figures come as Fittler warned the NRL not to tinker too much with their “jewel in the crown”.
“There’s going to be a lot of debate (over Sunday night Origin). The one thing that is important is that we don’t disrespect the product of State of Origin,” Fittler said.
“We had a wonderful international game and the women’s game was brilliant but you can’t turn away from the fact that State of Origin is the jewel in the crown outside our grand final.”
The twilight kick-off in Perth will equate to a prime time kick off on the east coast similar to Sydney’s recent game-two clash at ANZ Stadium and the NRL will be hoping it can improve on this years Sunday fixture.