NSW Rugby League Chairman Dr George Peponis OAM today announced the NSW VB Blues will be based in the northern NSW town of Kingscliff – just over 10km from the Queensland border – to prepare for the two 2017 State of Origin clashes in Brisbane.
Peponis and NSW VB Blues Coach Laurie Daley joined with the Member for Tweed, Geoff Provest MP, and Tweed Shire Councillor Pryce Allsop, to announce the new partnership which will see the Blues based in the Tweed region in the lead-up to the 2017 State of Origin Games One (31 May) and Three (12 July) at Suncorp Stadium.
The Blues will assemble at the Mantra on Salt Beach at Kingscliff for a week prior to the match, arriving on the Tuesday after the team announcement at The Star in Sydney and travel to Brisbane by bus on the eve of Origin, the following Tuesday. They will train on the local Cudgen Leagues Club field.
Peponis said the Tweed region’s proximity to Brisbane, as well as the quality of the facilities and partnerships NSWRL had formed with key stakeholders, had been a major factor in choosing Kingscliff as the team’s new base.
“We are pleased to have the opportunity to come to the Tweed region to prepare for the 2017 Holden State of Origin Series and are really thankful to Geoff Provest MP, the NSW State Member for Tweed, and the Tweed Shire Council for making it possible,” Peponis said.
Daley said he believed the move to the Tweed would result in better preparation for the two Brisbane Origin matches, with less training time lost in travel.
“We wanted to change our approach to the Brisbane games and have less time in Brisbane, as well as not losing a day in travel as we have done in the past,” Daley said.
“When NRL teams play in Brisbane they don’t arrive three days in advance of the game.
“In addition, the Tweed has a strong Rugby League history and it will be great to have the support of the local community as we prepare for the series.”
Provest and Allsop were both proud to be able to support the Blues camp in Kingscliff and believe it will be a major economic and tourism boost to the Tweed region, as well as providing an advantage for the team.
Provest said: “Bringing our 2017 State of Origin team to train at the very gates of Maroon territory is a clever tactic and I know football fans and the wider Tweed community will be as excited about this announcement as I am.”
Today’s announcement follows other key changes by the NSWRL Board following a review of the 2016 Holden State of Origin Series last month, which included the appointment of Peter Sterling (adviser), John Cartwright (assistant coach) and Mark Donaldson VC (assistant team manager).
Origin tickets, as well as The Star-backed Blatchys Blues memberships, are now on sale. Visit www.NSWRL.com.au for more information.