Anthem scrapped, Scott Morrison, NRL news

Anthem scrapped, Scott Morrison, NRL news
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Prime Minister Scott Morrison has saved the national anthem from the NRL scrap heap after reports the anthem had been pulled for this year’s State of Origin series.

On a day of high drama, NRL chief executive Andrew Abdo confirmed a decision from the Australian Rugby League Commission to scrap the anthem — only for reports to emerge hours later that the decision had been reversed.

The Daily Telegraph first revealed Morrison reached out to ARLC chairman Peter V’landys on Thursday after it was revealed that the anthem would no longer feature in any future State of Origin events.

Morrison’s intervention was confirmed in a statement from the Prime Minister a short time later on Thursday.

“This is a welcome decision by the NRL,” Morrison said.

“The NRL have done the right thing by listening to their fans and acting quickly to overturn their choice not to play the national anthem at the Origin Series.

“We have all faced a year of struggle and heartbreak and it has never been more important to be coming together to celebrate Australia and to be able to sing together our national anthem at the game so many of us love.”

The Daily Telegraph’s Phil Rothfield reported Morrison’s message to V’landys resulted in an immediate backflip from the NRL.

The NRL has also released a statement from V’landys where the rugby league supremo said the Commission reversed its decision after listening to the outcry from fans.

“We have always been committed to the anthem as shown at the Grand Final last weekend,” V’landys 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.”

Abdo earlier saidthe anthem would not be sung when the series begins at Adelaide Oval on Wednesday, November 4.

The original decision to scrap the anthem would have made the 2020 Origin series opener the first time in 40 years that the anthem would not have been sung before a State of Origin game.

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The NRL earlier announced the anthem would only be used for the Grand Final, Anzac Day and all Kangaroos and Jillaroos test matches.

The decision to scrap the anthem came after a series of protests in recent years, headlined by Latrell Mitchell Josh Addo-Carr, Cody Walker and Blake Ferguson in the 2019 series when they elected not to sing the anthem.

Queensland stars Will Chambers, Dane Gagai and Josh Papalii also remained silent during the singing of Advance Australia Fair during the 2019 series.

NRL CEO Abdo earlier said: “Playing the national anthem will be reserved for Test matches, grand final and Anzac Day.

“State of Origin is about the tribalism of the two states, it’s Australia’s biggest sporting rivalry. When NSW and Queensland run out we want that tension to erupt immediately.

“The game remains committed to our anthem. You need to look no further than last weekend’s grand final.”

The anthem was also scrapped for this year’s annual All Stars match on the advice of the game’s Indigenous players.

The decision was ticked off after a meeting between the ARLC and the NRL, and included consultation from the ARL Indigenous Council.

It comes after a number of Indigenous players opted not to sing the anthem during the clash with the Maori All stars team in 2019.



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