The NRL have ruled out taking a one-off State of Origin match to New Zealand despite the overwhelming support for the Auckland Nines and the country’s craving for superstars.
The NRL signed a $1 billion five-year deal with Nine in 2012 which includes the guarantee that State of Origin kick-off every year at 8pm.
The two-hour time difference between Sydney and Auckland means that rugby league’s greatest spectacle will continue to be overlooked in New Zealand.
In order to meet the terms of the contract a match played in New Zealand would have to start as late as 10pm, a prospect that simply isn’t feasible.
Auckland Nines co-founder Dean Lonergan said this weekend’s tournament would hopefully serve as a reminder to the game’s decision makers that beyond 2017, New Zealand deserve the chance to host a State of Origin match.
“Hopefully it lays a platform for potentially, once every five years a State of Origin game could come here,’’ Lonergan said of the Nines.
“They (NRL) now know that they can do the numbers through the gate to justify bringing it here.
“I wouldn’t dare do anything more than once every five years, simply because the Queensland and NSW people love their State of Origin.
“Every now and then it goes to Melbourne so it would be a once in a while treat for the players to play in New Zealand in front of the fans who have been so staunch here.’’