State of Origin is set to be played over two weeks in November, according to reports down under.
News Corp in Australia is reporting that the three-game series will take place on the 4, 11 and 18 of November, with the original dates in June and July scrapped due to the Covid-19 suspension.
The NRL will instead play out their full season, culminating with the Grand Final on 25 October, before ending the year with State of Origin.
New South Wales coach and Aussie rugby league expert Gus Gould said on his Six Tackles with Gus podcast: “I have said this previously – this will be the hardest Origin series ever for the players and the coaches.
“The players are at the peak of their powers, they have had 8-10 games under their belt and still got the residual value of the off-season program – it’s totally different at the end of the season.
“By the time you get there and you’ve played through the finals, players will have spent themselves. You will give everything you’ve got, and you’ve got the emotional drains of wins and losses at finals time.”
The decision casts further doubt on the Ashes series between England and Australia, which is due to be played at the end of October and start of November.
The Kangaroos’ squad is likely to be largely made up of players competing in Origin, meaning they would have to choose one or the other should the series still go ahead.
There has been much speculation that the internationals would be cancelled or postponed, with the resumption and completion of each country’s domestic seasons remaining the priority.