NRL makes call on Origin format change – dates announced for 2024 series with Maroons facing scheduling challenge
New coach Michael Maguire will get the chance to guide the Blues on home soil in 2024 with NSW to host the opening State of Origin match in Sydney.
Despite a push to condense the Origin schedule to have less of an impact on the regular season, the ARL Commission will retain the current format next year with a three-week gap between each match on a Wednesday night.
The series will kick off on June 5 at Accor Stadium, according to a NewsCorp report, with the Melbourne Cricket Ground hosting the neutral Origin on June 26.
Queensland won’t get to play at Suncorp Stadium until the series finale on July 17 – NSW had to play on the road for the first two matches this year, losing both, before saving face in the Sydney dead rubber in what turned out to be Brad Fittler’s last game at the helm.
Playing at the MCG has not suited the Maroons over the years – they went down 14-0 in 1994, recorded a 20-12 upset the following year of Paul Vautin’s miracle team, but lost 15-14 (in 1997), 26-18 (in 2015) and 22-12 (in 2018).
Maguire has been handed a one-year part-time deal by the NSWRL and after guiding New Zealand to a 30-0 flogging of Australia in the Pacific Championships final, the former premiership-winning coach is set to hold both roles.
Maroons coach Billy Slater is attempting to emulate Arthur Beetson, Phil Gould and Mal Meninga as the only coaches in Origin history to win a hat-trick of series in their first three years in the role.
They surged late to win the Origin series opener in Adelaide 26-18 before thumping the Blues 32-6 in Brisbane to clinch the series.
With Maroons star Reece Walsh suspended, the Maroons went down 24-10 to NSW in the third match.
Meninga backed Maguire to handle both representative coaching roles.
“He’s a great man Madge,” Meninga said. “If given the job he would do a really terrific job. He’s a great representative coach as well, he’ll bring the best out of those fellas.”