The Australian national anthem has reportedly been dumped from this year’s State of Origin series.
The Daily Telegraph reported the controversial move on Thursday, following a meeting of the ARL Commission.
The series begins next Wednesday in Adelaide and this will be the first time in the 40-year history of Origin that Advance Australia Fair will not be played before kick-off.
The decision was made by the ARL Commission/NRL. The Telegraph reported that the NSW Rugby League was against the move; for which the rationale was that NSW vs Queensland was not an international fixture, despite the anthem being played before the Penrith vs Melbourne NRL grand final on Sunday.
Blues players Latrell Mitchell, Cody Walker and Josh Addo-Carr were outspoken critics of the anthem before Origin I last year and refused to sing, as did Queensland’s Will Chambers. Those players are Indigenous men, who felt that the anthem did not represent their heritage and was borne of Australia’s troubled colonial history.
NSW coach Brad Fittler did not support dumping the anthem last year but fully backed his players’ right to boycott the song.