THE NRL’s decision to host game three of the 2020 State of Origin in Adelaide has been slammed in the North, amid calls for the game to instead be played at the new Townsville Stadium.
Townsville Mayor Jenny Hill has come out swinging at both the NRL and State Government, saying they should have fought to secure the game for Townsville.
She said their lack of action would be grounds to ramp up a campaign for a separate state in the North.
“The announcement is a real bitter pill for the people not just of Townsville but all of North Queensland,” Cr Hill said.
“If there going to say there should be a game in Sydney, a game in Brisbane and a game in another state, understand this. Townsville is 1800km from Brisbane,
“If the only way we’re going to get an NRL State of Origin in Townsville is to have a separate state, I can tell you now we can start a petition tomorrow if you want a separate state that is what will fire up the people of North Queensland.
“The NRL needs to understand that this is the heartland of their code and if they continue to ignore the heartland there are other codes that are snapping at their heels.
“Their continuing arrogance to sell the game to the highest bidder is something that is absolutely abhorrent.”
Burdekin MP and LNP spokesman for North Queensland Dale Last accused Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk of not fighting for the North.
“Annastacia Palaszczuk has dropped the ball by losing a Queensland State of Origin game to Adelaide,” Mr Last said.
“It’s a farcical decision and it’s about time the Premier stood up for Queensland first.
“It’s a bit rich Labor are calling this a kick in the guts after the fact and I want to know what they actually did to try and secure this game.
“Many of our best Origin players are North Queensland born and bred and it’s about time we got the State of Origin game we deserve.
“The Premier and her Sports Minister should be fighting for Townsville and North Queensland.”
LNP Leader Deb Frecklington agreed.
“I don’t want to bag our South Australian friends but imagine the Crows and Port being played in Queensland. There would be a riot,” Ms Frecklington said.
“What does Townsville have to do to get a game?”
Katter’s Australian Party MPs Robbie Katter, Shane Knuth and Nick Dametto today wore maroon arm bands to parliament to protest Adelaide getting the game over Townsville.
“State of Origin in Queensland is bigger than the Commonwealth Games or the Olympics,” Mr Katter said.
“North Queensland has been the breeding ground for so many great players, there is a huge grass-roots following and we’ll have a brand new stadium in a couple of years.
“The time is right for a game in North Queensland.’’