Origin format to remain unchanged

The ARL Commission has ignored calls to reduce the length of the representative season to combat player fatigue, with State of Origin to again be played over eight weeks next season.

Melbourne Storm coach Craig Bellamy led calls this year for the duration of the interstate series to be reduced to limit the drain on players.

However, even though burnout was a hot topic at the recent World Cup, there will again be a three-week gap between games in 2014, stretching the series out over eight NRL rounds.

Queensland's chase for an unprecedented ninth successive series win will be boosted by two games in Brisbane next year - the first kicking off at Suncorp Stadium on May 28, as revealed in a sneak peak of the 2014 draw released by the NRL yesterday.

Game two will be played at Sydney's ANZ Stadium on June 18, with the series returning to Suncorp for the third game on July 9.

There will again be a stand-alone representative weekend from May 2-4, with the traditional mid-year Test between Australia and New Zealand played on the Friday night.

The much-maligned City v Country fixture will be played on the Sunday at Apex Oval, Dubbo.

The 2014 premiership season is likely to begin on Thursday, March 6, with premiers the Sydney Roosters and South Sydney set to continue their bitter rivalry at ANZ Stadium.

That fixture is expected to be confirmed when the full draw is released tomorrow.

In a bid to alleviate player distress in the warm, early rounds, only one afternoon match will be played each round over the opening three rounds. 


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