Maroons tipped to stick to winning Coast formula
THE all-conquering Queensland Maroons are likely to retain Palmer Coolum Resort as their training base as they aim for a ninth straight State of Origin victory.
The Daily understands that Mal Meninga's men are set to stick with a winning formula and make camp on the Sunshine Coast in the lead-up to the 2014 NRL series.
Last year, it seemed certain that the Maroons were set to turn their backs on the Coolum resort, where they have based themselves since 2010.
Meninga hinted at a change of scenery when he said the Maroons were looking to "freshen things up" and were no certainty to remain.
However key figures on both sides of negotiations this week said privately it was likely current arrangements would stay in place.
The final decision will be made at the next QRL board meeting, scheduled for Wednesday.
The resort, owned by businessman and Fairfax MP Clive Palmer, is being considered along with Stradbroke Island, Noosa Springs and Twin Waters. While there is no deadline for a call to be made, Game One is three and a half months away and flights, accommodation and other bookings have to be finalised soon.
Palmer Coolum Resort officials are pushing hard to host the team again. They see it as a feather in the cap of the facility.
The Queensland players enjoy the solitude and serenity of the resort. It allows them to prepare for the three biggest games on the rugby league calendar away from the Brisbane fishbowl.
Palmer Coolum Resort officials are asking why the Maroons would want to tinker with a winning formula, but it remains to be seen what part their training base has played in their winning run.
Sunshine Coast Gympie Rugby League CEO James Ward said it was a shot in the arm for the Coast game.
"Origin is the most exciting time of the year in rugby league, particularly in Queensland," he said. "Having the Maroons here increases the vibe around local league circles."
Palmer Coolum Resort general manager Simon Stodart did not return the Daily's calls yesterday.