State of Origin 1 might be one of the biggest sporting events on the Australian calendar, but there is plenty more than just the game to look forward to when the New South Wales Blues and Queensland Maroons descend on the Melbourne Cricket Ground on Wednesday, June 6.
The New South Wales Blues and Queensland Maroons will do battle on the hallowed turf of the Melbourne Cricket Ground, with kick-off set down for 8pm (AEST) on Wednesday, June 6, although the actual start of the game is likely to be about 15 minutes later.
The opening State of Origin match between New South Wales and Queensland kicks off at 8:10pm AEST on Wednesday. The Nine coverage begins at 7:00pm AEST, with the expert panel dissecting all of the big issues, as well as unparalleled features and analysis.
You can expect plenty of analysis and opinion from the unrivalled Nine commentary team, which includes Origin legends Phil Gould, Darren Lockyer, Andrew Johns and Wally Lewis.
New South Wales vs Queensland preview
It’s been the most disrupted preparation in memory for Queensland, with Billy Slater ruled out on Monday with a hamstring injury, and Dane Gagai suffering a compound dislocation of his finger during training on Tuesday. New South Wales have a record 11 debutants, while for Queensland it’s the first time since 2003 they’ve taken the field without at least one of Slater, Cameron Smith, Johnathan Thurston or Cooper Cronk.
The main game is set to kick-off at 8pm (AEST), give or take a few minutes, but there is plenty of pre-match entertainment to whet the appetite beforehand.
While it’s unclear what will be happening outside the MCG through the afternoon, there is sure to be a hive of activity as 90,000 fans descend on the famous old venue for the first game of the series.
Peking Duk will headline the pre-match entertainment from 7:30pm inside the venue. That’ll follow the under 18 State of Origin match, which gets underway at 5:15pm and should be wrapped up about an hour and a half later, giving the groundstaff 40 minutes to get things ready for the entertainment side of the night.
The Origin itself will then commence at around 8:15pm with halftime set for about 9pm and fulltime an hour later.
Kick-off bingo is always a popular pastime in the lead-up to Origin, with the NRL’s rundown for last year bringing kick-off forward to 8:12pm (AEST), which, give or take a few minutes, they stuck to for each game of the series.
Full schedule for Origin 1 (all times AEST)
5pm – Gates open
5:15pm – Under 18 State of Origin – New South Wales vs Queensland: kick-off
5:55pm – Under 18 State of Origin: halftime
6:10pm – Under 18 State of Origin: second half kick-off
6:50pm – Under 18 State of Origin: fulltime
7pm – Channel 9 TV coverage commences
7:30pm – Pre-match entertainment featuring Peeking Duk commences
8:10pm – Teams enter Melbourne Cricket Ground
8:12pm – National Anthem
8:15pm – State of Origin Game 1: New South Wales Blues vs Queensland Maroons kick-off
9pm – State of Origin Game 1: halftime
9:15pm – State of Origin Game 1: second half commences
10pm – State of Origin Game 1: fulltime