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Blues winger Brian To'o is shortened up by Maroons skipper Daly Cherry-Evans.

ARL Commission chairman Peter V’landys hopes the loyalty of Newcastle fans can be rewarded when a decision is made on the venue for the third State of Origin on July 14.

V’landys said the ARLC planned to decide later on Friday where the match would be played but has all but ruled Stadium Australia due to doubts about whether the Olympic stadium will be permitted to host crowds due to Sydney’s COVID-19 lockdown.

The NSW Government’s stay at home order for residents of Greater Sydney is due to expire next Friday but V’landys said it was unlikely all restrictions would be immediately lifted.

"We will make a decision this afternoon," V’landys told 2GB on Friday morning.

"We are realistic, I don’t think we will be able to have it at Stadium Australia. It is only four or five days after the lockdown and there is always a lag between opening everything up and the lockdown so I would be surprised if Stadium Australia would be allowed to have a crowd.

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"We are looking at various options. We would like to keep it in NSW and Newcastle is certainly one of the areas we are looking at.

"We have had some pretty positive discussions with government and hopefully we will be able to make a decision this afternoon."

V’landys said other options would also be considered, with AAMI Park in Melbourne having expressed interest, and he wouldn’t rule out taking a third match to Queensland this series.

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However, Newcastle remains the preferred venue for the Blues to receive the Ampol State of Origin Shield and attempt their first series "Blue rinse" since 2000 after winning 50-6 in Townsville and 26-0 at Suncorp Stadium last Sunday night.

"Money talks and we need to maximise our returns," V’landys said.

"We are going through COVID and it puts a strain on our finances. We have a lot of new expenses in order to keep the competition going so anywhere we can get revenue we must look at it and be responsible.

"Three in Queensland would be a first but at this stage we want to keep it in NSW. We have had a variety of other people wishing to have the game - interstate organisations and governments - so we are looking at every option but our aim is to repay the loyalty of our Newcastle fans.

"It is a rugby league heartland and if we can get things ticked off on by the NSW Government, I am pretty confident that we will have it at Newcastle."

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National Rugby League respects and honours the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

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