Mal Meninga’s Maroons would relish going to Sydney next year and giving NSW another State of Origin thumping, according to Queensland rugby league boss John McDonald.
McDonald, Queensland’s inaugural Origin coach in 1980, declared Queensland would “get on with it” after confirmation Sydney’s ANZ Stadium would host games one and three of the 2013 series.
The ARL Commission revealed a new five-year rotation for the best of three-game series on Tuesday.
NSW will host two home matches next season and in 2016, while Queensland will have two games in 2014 and 2017. Victoria Major Events Company are in discussion with the ARLC to host a game in 2015.
Brisbane had been slated to host two matches in 2013, but the ARLC, which took control of the game in April, changed that after the NSW government outbid Queensland to secure games one and game three at ANZ Stadium.
Maroon legends Wally Lewis and Gorden Tallis slammed the Campbell Newman Liberal National Party government – believed to have been in expensive negotiations to bring Manchester United to Brisbane – for handing over an Origin game, but McDonald and Meninga took the news calmly.
“We’ll enjoy the challenge of going to Sydney and giving them a thumping in 2013,” said McDonald, who is stepping down from the top job.
“We’ll just get on with it, win the series again and NSW can please themselves.”
Meninga, who has won every series since taking over in 2006, bristled at the prospect of facing his former Canberra and Australian teammate Laurie Daley with the added motivation of two games in Sydney.
New NSW coach Daley suggested Queensland would be “filthy” at the news.
But Meninga said it would bring the best out in his champion side.
“We were hoping for two games (in Queensland), but it’s not going to be so we’ll just get on with it,” he said.
“The game should always come first.
Daley dismissed statistics showing NSW enjoyed overwhelming success against Queensland at ANZ Stadium.
“We want it (ANZ Stadium) to be a a rotten place for Queensland to come and visit and we need to sell it out,” he said.
“Every little advantage is worth something but it won’t decide the result if we don’t prepare and play well.”
Meninga conceded that his record breaking Maroons faced a challenge with NSW “right on our heels”
“We’ve had a little bit of success in Sydney in 2007, 08 and 09 but the last two years we’ve stumbled a little bit down there.
“We haven’t played to our potential at ANZ Stadium recently so that’s going to be really critical next year.”
Lewis took a swipe at sports minister Steve Dickson for handing over an Origin game to the enemy without a fight.
“Anybody that doesn’t fight hard hard to maintain a bit of loyalty and support for Queensland, I don’t believe they’re real Queenslanders,” said an upset Lewis.
An angry Tallis suggested voters would not be happy.
“I tell you what,” fumed Tallis, “if there was an election right now, I know what would be happening.”
Queensland stalwart and Origin original Chris `Choppy’ Close said it didn’t matter where Origin was played.
“I’ve always said we’d play them in a carpark if they wanted,” Close told AAP after the news broke.
“If they want to play (Origin) at Woolies’ carpark in Broken Hill, then bring it on.
“We’ll turn up with the same attitude, the same team and no doubt there’ll be the same result.”