NRL reveal 2021 State of Origin dates, venues for Queensland v New South Wales series

The West Australian
VideoDean Ritchie catches up with Newcastle Knights star Kalyn Ponga to find out when he will return from injury for the 2021 NRL season.

The Melbourne Cricket Ground will host the first match of this year’s State of Origin rugby league series between New South Wales and Queensland.

The game, on June 9, will be the 10th played at the MCG and the first since 2018.

WA secured the second game of the 2019 State of Origin series while Adelaide Oval hosted the first game of 2020.

Should Queensland claim victory at the MCG in game one, the side could retain their State of Origin crown in front of home fans for game two - with the second match at Suncorp Stadium on June 27.

It will be just the second time State of Origin has been played at the Brisbane venue on a Sunday.

The series concludes at Stadium Australia in Sydney on July 14.

In announcing the venues on Monday, National Rugby League chief executive Andrew Abdo said his organization was determined to take the games to the widest possible audience in a COVID-safe environment.

“We’re excited to be taking Australia’s biggest sporting brand to Melbourne for the 10th time,” he said.

“The last year has been incredibly challenging for (Melbourne’s Victoria state) with the extended lockdowns and challenges.

“We’re delighted to be bringing Ampol State of Origin back to the city.”

MANLY SUFFERS HUGE BLOW

Manly have been dealt a major blow to their 2021 NRL season with star fullback Tom Trbojevic suffering yet another hamstring injury.

Trbojevic will be unavailable until at least round four against Penrith, after scans revealed a grade two tear to his right hamstring.

Tom Trbojevic will again be sidelined for Manly.
Camera IconTom Trbojevic will again be sidelined for Manly. Credit: DEAN LEWINS/AAPIMAGE

Trbojevic denies he injured his leg running down the Manly Corso on Saturday night after vision emerged on social media, and claims he was hurt dashing to the bathroom over the weekend.

“I’m devasted by what’s happened. I will be working hard with the rehab team to get the hamstring right,’” Trbojevic said.

Trbojevic has now suffered four hamstring injuries in just two years, missing the final three months of the season last year.

LATRELL CASHES IN

Latrell Mitchell will remain with South Sydney until at least the end of the 2023 season after signing a two-year contract extension with the NRL club.

Mitchell confirmed on Monday morning he was staying at the Rabbitohs, in a move that will let him remain among the game’s premier fullbacks on a deal believed to be in excess of $800,000 a year.

“I’m really happy about staying here at Souths. It’s become home for me and my family,” Mitchell said in a club statement.

Latrell Mitchell has signed a new deal, worth a reported $800,000 per season.
Camera IconLatrell Mitchell has signed a new deal, worth a reported $800,000 per season. Credit: DAN HIMBRECHTS/AAPIMAGE

“I feel like we have a great squad of players here and top coaches and I’m really confident that we can achieve what we want to achieve in the coming seasons.

“It’s a special club and a special group of players and it means a lot to me and my family to represent South Sydney.”

MUSGROVE’S ALL STARS APPEARANCE SOURED

Zane Musgrove will miss the opening two rounds of the NRL season after Wests Tigers accepted the early guilty plea for his charge from the Match Review Committee.

Musgrove’s shoulder charge on Tyrell Fuimaono in the 35th minute of the All Stars game on Saturday night in Townsville resulted in the front-rower being sent to the sin bin.

By taking the early plea, and escaping a three-game ban, the 24-year-old will miss matches against Canberra and the Sydney Roosters but be eligible for round three selection against Newcastle.

Zane Musgrove (right) will miss the first two rounds of the NRL season.
Camera IconZane Musgrove (right) will miss the first two rounds of the NRL season. Credit: DARREN ENGLAND/AAPIMAGE

In another incident stemming from the 10-all draw in the pre-season spectacle, Musgrove’s Maori teammate Dallin Watene-Zelezniak was charged by the MRP with a grade one careless high tackle on Alex Johnston.

Canterbury outside back Watene-Zelezniak will be eligible for round one after the hit attracted only a $1350 fine.

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