Friendships, loyalties and alliances will be put to the test on Wednesday night when the XXXX Queensland Maroons take on the VB New South Wales Blues at Suncorp Stadium in game one of the 2011 Harvey Norman State of Origin Series – live from 7.30pm on Channel Nine.
A blockbuster Origin week gets underway the night before the first clash with The Originals, the ultimate State of Origin preview for rugby league fans. Catch The Originals next Tuesday at 9.30pm on Nine.
The Originals assembles the most qualified rugby league panel on Australian television. Hosted by Ben Fordham, it features Origin legends Wally Lewis and Andrew Johns, six-time victorious Blues coach Phil Gould, and Ray Hadley, who has been named Australia’s best Radio Sports Broadcaster 10 times in the past 14 years.
This 60-minute Origin special includes all the latest breaking news, unprecedented access to both team camps, and a full game and series preview, with a panel discussion on team strategies and match tactics. Plus stories by Channel Nine reporters Leila McKinnon and Roz Kelly.
The Originals will also go to air on the eve of game two, Tuesday, June 14, and game three, Tuesday, July 5, at 9.30pm.
Then on Wednesday, May 25, the main event begins with game one of the 2011 Harvey Norman State of Origin Series at Suncorp Stadium, live from 7.30pm.
International recording star James Blunt will headline the pre-match entertainment, singing his hit new single Stay the Night.
The Queensland Maroons have dominated the New South Wales Blues for the past five years, winning 11 of the 15 games played. With veteran Maroons captain Darren Lockyer playing in his last Origin series, Queensland are determined to send him out on a winning note by retaining the crown of interstate supremacy in 2011.
In contrast, Paul Gallen will captain the Blues for the first time on Wednesday night, vowing to win back the pride of New South Wales supporters and side-step another series loss.
The voice of rugby league, Ray Warren, will lead Nine’s Origin commentary team. Joining him for the call are Peter Sterling and Phil Gould, while Paul Vautin, Andrew Johns, Brad Fittler, Wally Lewis and special guest, Gold Coast Titans captain Scott Prince, are on the expert panel.
ANZ Stadium in Sydney will host Origin II on Wednesday, June 15, and Origin III will be played at Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane on Wednesday, July 6.
2011 HARVEY NORMAN STATE OF ORIGIN SERIES
Game one, Wednesday, May 25, live from 7.30pm AEST on Nine