The NRL will take two State of Origins and two Test matches to Melbourne over the next eight years after striking a deal with the Victorian government.
After securing $12 million to build a centre of excellence, the game’s governing body announced plans to take a number of big games to Victoria between 2019 and 2025.
They include Origin games in 2021 and 2025, Tests involving the Kangaroos in 2022 and 2023 and next year’s All Stars match.
“This agreement will see some of our biggest events played in Melbourne over a seven-year cycle,” NRL CEO Todd Greenberg said.
“State of Origin is the biggest sporting rivalry in the country and it will be great to further set in stone the schedule over the next period with two more matches in Melbourne.
“State of Origin will now be played at the MCG this year, followed by Perth, Adelaide and Melbourne again in 2021 and 2025.”
The deal was struck after the Andrews state government gave the green light for the construction of a centre of excellence in Broadmeadows in Melbourne’s outer suburbs, which the NRL and Melbourne Storm hope to use as a springboard for the growth of the game in the southern state.
The Andrews government is also pushing for a Melbourne team to be admitted for next year’s NRL Women’s Championship.
The inaugural women’s competition will this year feature St George Illawarra, Brisbane, Sydney Roosters and the Warriors.
Victorian Minister for Tourism John Eren said the women’s licence formed part of the deal with the NRL.