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Maroons plot Blues-free zone

Maroons plot Blues-free zone
The Queensland Rugby League is hoping for a sea of maroon at Suncorp Stadium for both of Brisbane's Origin matches in 2014. Credit: NRL Photos Copyright: NRL Photos

New South Wales fans be warned: the Queensland Rugby League are doing all they can to stop you from attending the two Origin matches to be played in Brisbane in 2014.

With confirmation that Brisbane will host the first and third Origin matches of the 2014 Series on May 28 and July 9, the QRL have ramped up their campaign encouraging Queensland fans to become a 'Maroon member'.

Tickets for the sole Origin clash this year in Queensland sold out in 30 minutes and QRL chairman Peter Betros is hoping that by the time tickets go on sale to the public early next year, there will be slim pickings left for Blues fans.

"It's the only way to guarantee an Origin ticket [in Brisbane], to become a Maroon member," Betros told NRL.com. "It's just like becoming a member of a club only you are becoming a member of the Queensland Rugby League Maroons.

"You're guaranteeing yourself two Origin tickets plus quite a bit of merchandise and it gives you preliminary access to information about the team and insight into the team when it's in camp.

"There's a lot of interest already in Brisbane and throughout Queensland. We've had inquiries from North Queensland all the way down about ticketing and how best to acquire tickets. By the time we go on sale to the public in early '14 I think we're going to have a massive membership base already signed up to guarantee their tickets.

"If we sold the stadium out and filled it full of Maroon members then we would be totally ecstatic. That would shut out any chance of the Blues infiltrating Suncorp Stadium.

"It's possible that in the future the only way to get to an Origin match is to be a Maroon member and we'd love for that to happen."

Next year will be just the second time since 2007 that Brisbane has hosted two matches in an Origin Series and from the display of many of the Maroons' key players for Australia in the World Cup Final last Sunday morning, the Blues will be hard pressed to end the winning streak at eight.

While expectation from fans is for the Queensland dominance to continue, Betros believes there is also a great appreciation for the legacy the current batch of Maroons will leave behind.

"They really appreciate the calibre of the team and the quality of player they've been privileged to see over the last eight years," Betros said.

"I think the Queensland public do appreciate the outstanding quality of that team but the more it goes on the more people expect you to win and the pressure builds more and more to keep winning. From what I saw on the weekend, players who NSW called old this year, those players are still performing at an absolutely outstanding level."

The QRL will announce the squad for the Emerging Origin camp in January prior to Christmas, a program that earlier this year included Daly Cherry-Evans, Josh Papalii and Chris McQueen, who all went on to play key roles in the Maroons' eighth-straight Origin Series win.

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