Maroon Jacob Lillyman: Take State of Origin to NZ

A STATE of Origin game played in front of a packed house at the one time home of rugby union across the ditch in New Zealand?

Why not?

It's already been showcased to sports-loving Yanks in California.

And there's been talk recently of taking a clash between Queensland and NSW to Paris.

So why not pack it up and put on a game for Kiwi fans who at least have a team in the NRL premiership and who would embrace it in a heartbeat.

After all, a Kiwi - Graham Lowe - has already coached Queensland in State of Origin anyway.

"Mate, it would massive," declared Queensland's new starting front-rower Jacob Lillyman, his eyes taking on the shape of footballs when the idea was tossed at him in Origin camp on the Gold Coast this week.

Lillyman said Eden Park, once the domain of the all-conquering All Blacks, would be a magnificent venue to stage an Origin should one ever made it across the Tasman..

"Honestly, it's so big, I think it would be massive, especially for rugby league in New Zealand if they took and Origin game over there," enthused Lillyman.

"They'd never stop talking about it, they'd love to see it happen.

"I couldn't endorse it enough."

 

New Zealand has proved a wonderful market for major sport in recent years.

After luring former world number one golfer Tiger Woods to the national Open for a few years, New Zealand hosted an international rugby league pre-season tournament in February which was rated a massive success by all.

More than 90,000 packed into Eden Park for the two days of the inaugural Auckland Nines with all 16 NRL clubs taking part.

The atmosphere, especially on the final day when the finals were on had a State of Origin feel about it and certainly caught the imagination of the players surprised by the crowd involvement.

"It would sell out in the click of a finger," declared Lillyman who ventured across the Tasman to join the New Zealand Warriors from the Cowboys after Queensland front-row stalwart Steve Price retired.


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