THE BLUES have selected Kingscliff as their base to prepare for two of the State of Origin clashes in Brisbane next year.
NSW Rugby League Chairman Dr George Peponis and NSW VB Blues Coach Laurie Daley joined Member for Tweed Geoff Provest MP and Tweed Shire Councillor Pryce Allsop at the Mantra on Salt this morning (December 9) to make the announcement.
Mr 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,” Mr 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.”
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.
The side will also train on the local Cudgen Leagues Club fields.
Dr 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,” Dr Peponis said.
Mr Provest and Cr 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.
Mr 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.