Beattie on the ball for NQ Origin
INCOMING Rugby League Commission Chairman Peter Beattie will press for North Queensland to get their fair share of "high end" games, including a State of Origin in 2021.
The Sunday Mail understands Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk and Major Events Minister Kate Jones held meetings last week with the former Premier to lobby for a series of games to be played through Queensland.
It comes after the shock move by the NRL - which blindsided the Palaszczuk Government - to snub Townsville and sell off a 2020 State of Origin game to Adelaide, which has a brief two-year history with rugby league.
Mr Beattie, who will take up the new role this week, will travel to Townsville next month to inspect the new stadium.
He said while it was vital to "grow the game" outside of the traditional states, Queensland "cannot be forgotten."
"My door will always be open to talk to the Queensland Government about ways to expand and grow rugby league in Queensland," he said.
"We would never dismiss Townsville as a possible Origin venue in 2021 but we should not forget that the new stadium will be well suited for a kangaroo match."
Ms Palaszczuk, who also appointed Mr Beattie to the lucrative role of Chairman for the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games Corporation, said she expected him to deliver for his home state.
"Peter is passionate about Queensland, particularly North Queensland, and I am sure he will deliver. I want him to consider a Kangaroos Test for the North Queensland Stadium," she said.
"So, my message to Peter Beattie is - deliver the (Commonwealth) Games, then deliver the (Kangaroos) game."
Under the current NRL expansion plans, the governing body is proposing to have one State of Origin game each year, either interstate or overseas, with Brisbane and Sydney to host one each.
The State Government would be expected to kick in a significant amount of money to attract an Origin game to the new Townsville stadium, to top up ticket revenue, because its capacity is only 25,000.
"We can get 50,000 at Suncorp Stadium, 80,000 at ANZ Stadium (Sydney) and 100,000 in Melbourne," Mr Beattie said.
"Clearly, we have to take those factors into account when we talk to the Queensland Government ... let the discussions begin."