The NRL has announced the national anthem would be played before each State of Origin match in November, the ARL Commission reversing its original decision after receiving feedback from fans.
ARL Commission chairman Peter V’landys said the initial decision not to play the anthem prior to matches at the Ampol State of Origin series "was never about politics".
"We have always been committed to the anthem as shown at the grand final last weekend," he said.
"The original decision not to play the anthem at Origin was about the rivalry and tribalism associated with the Origin series.
"However, having listened to the public response and given the strong national unity in fighting the COVID pandemic together, the Commission has decided it is important to ensure that unity continues.
"We have always been a Commission that listens to our fans. We have heard the message and acted accordingly."
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NRL CEO Andrew Abdo stressed the decision had not been political but rather a discussion about which major events were suited to having the national anthem played.
"We didn't do it to create controversy and it wasn't a politically motivated decision, it was based on whether we thought it was appropriate to play the anthem at which games," Abdo said.
"We felt ... it was appropriate at matches such as Test matches, which are obvious, Anzac Day, and the grand final which is really celebrating a national game and the end of the season.
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"We felt that Origin was about the rivalry between two states. That was really the motivation for this rather than creating a divisive political debate."
The rapid turnaround based on feedback from fans and other stakeholders was not necessarily because public opinion was clearly against the move but because the issue was so quickly becoming divisive, he added.
"There's been numerous discussion forums across media, across Australia today, numerous phone calls between different stakeholders, the Prime Minister made a phone call to our chairman, we've had a number of fans express their views across a number of different platforms and on that basis the commission met and decided this wasn't the intention and therefore it was important to reinstate the national anthem," he said.
"We wanted to celebrate the rivalry and intensity of two state teams.
"As you get from time to time when you present live games and football, depending on where you're playing, the teams run on and then they play.
"The decision to play the anthem at different events was a discussion that was had by the Commission."