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Ricky Stuart’s revamp of the NSW VB Blues has been given a massive vote of support with Australia’s favourite beer, VB, confirming a multi-million dollar four-year deal to come on board as the team’s major sponsor.

Importantly, VB today announced the deal will extend beyond the VB Blues after 2011 and from 2012 will include the NSW Cup and Country Rugby League competitions that have been identified as crucial to delivering long-term NSW Origin success.

A comprehensive review of all aspects of the Blues Origin campaigns identified the need for a full-time Origin coach, dedicated development camps and a strengthening of state-based development pathways.

VB, a long-term supporter of the Blues and naming rights partner for the VB Kangaroos, VB Test and VB Gold Country Origin team, has recognised the commitment being made in NSW and put its brand on the most historic jersey in Australian Rugby League.

“This is the sort of support that is important to the players and to our whole campaign,” VB Blues Coach Ricky Stuart said today.

“If we are to get the VB Blues where I know they should be we need sponsors, fans and the entire state behind us because this is about everyone wanting to be a part of the team.

“I’ve got no doubt that we are laying the foundations for a new era for the Blues and I’m proud to have VB on board.”

Australian Rugby League Chairman, Mr John Chalk, said that the VB partnership would play an important role in strengthening competitions across the state:

“The VB Blues jumper is the most recognised in the game with a history dating back to 1907.

“There has been an incredible amount of work go into this year’s Origin campaign and the VB sponsorship announcement is a key part in building the team’s success.

“The strength of the NSW Cup and the Country Rugby League competitions is also an important part of keeping the game strong in NSW.

“These competitions play an important role in developing players and by supporting them VB is giving its support to the heart and soul of the game in NSW.”

VB Group Marketing Manager, Mr Craig MacLean, said today that VB’s multi-million dollar commitment to Rugby League was a strong vote of support in the strength of the game.

“We have enjoyed a long partnership with Rugby League and with the Blues.

“The opportunity to take the naming rights position and to be a key part of the state’s Rugby League future is an exciting one.

“It is a genuine partnership and one that links the state’s premier beer with the biggest sport in NSW.”