Arthur Beetson’s number 11 jersey will be “retired” from the 100th Holden State of Origin game to be played at Suncorp Stadium on May 28.
NRL CEO, Mr Dave Smith, said today it had been decided to honour Beetson, an Immortal who was instrumental in making Origin such a success.
Mr Smith said, that for the first time, the Queensland Rugby League had decided to retire Beetson’s number 11 jersey for the game.
“Arthur is the father of Origin and deserves to be recognised for his contribution to the concept,” he said.
“When children ask why there is no number 11 for Queensland this year, their mums and dads will explain that the jersey belongs to Arthur Beetson.
“So the legend of the late Arthur Beetson will live on.”
Mr Smith said the first 99 games of Origin had generated some of the greatest moments and players in the game’s history.
He said he expected this year’s series to be one of the best of all time.
“Queensland would love nothing more than to make it nine in a row and NSW are just as desperate to stop them,” he said.
“This Queensland team has produced some of the finest players in Origin history, including Johnathan Thurston, Greg Inglis, Billy Slater and Cameron Smith.
“But Laurie Daley and Paul Gallen are determined to bring their run to a halt so it should be an amazing series.”
QRL CEO, Mr Rob Moore, said ticket sales for the Brisbane Origin matches had been in strong demand since going on sale yesterday.
“There are limited tickets remaining for each match,” he said.
Mr Smith said State of Origin is the NRL’s showcase event of the season.
“More than 12 million people watched the three games last year and we are getting better and better,” he said.
“The first 99 Origin games have been amazing - the next 100 will be even better.”
The second Origin game will be played at ANZ Stadium in Sydney on June 18 and the third match will be at Suncorp on July 9.