A PREDICTED shortening of the State of Origin period in 2014 has failed to eventuate.
The NRL had previously discussed reducing the schedule to six weeks to lessen the impact on the top clubs, but the draw released yesterday will see games played on May 28, June 18 and July 9 next year.
For the first time since 2011, two games will be held in Queensland. Brisbane will host games one and three, with game two in Sydney. NRL general manager of football operations Nathan McGuirk said the league had tried to ensure the code's marquee games did not clash with rounds where clubs were without their star players.
"We obviously try to place byes strategically through that particular area of the season to help compensate teams that are heavily affected by State of Origin and its impact on clubs," McGuirk said.
The Anzac Test between Australia and New Zealand will be played on Friday, May 2, with the City v Country clash to be played in Dubbo on Sunday, May 4.
The draw for the 2014 NRL season is out tomorrow. Meanwhile, the 2013 Rugby League World Cup has been hailed the greatest ever with the organising committee announcing a $A5.4 million profit on the back of television and commercial revenue, and a total attendance of 457,483.
Nigel Wood, chief executive of the Rugby Football League, said profits would be ploughed back into the international game.
"We will be putting in place structures that ensure the legacy of RLWC2013 around the world is lasting and positive," he said.
Saturday's final between Australia and New Zealand, won 34-2 by the Kangaroos, attracted a crowd of 74,468 at Old Trafford.