Plans launched to lure NSW Blues back in '18
THE process of luring New South Wales back for more Origin camps has already begun a year out from the 2018 series, according to Tweed MP Geoff Provest.
While the Blues lost the battle in Wednesday night's series decider, the Tweed might have won the war, with New South Wales Rugby League's commitment to shifting their pre-away game camps north from Coffs Harbour in 2017 benefiting both parties.
While no commitment has been made, Mr Provest is confident NSW will be back in 2018.
"We're working with the NSW Minister for Sport (Stuart Ayres) and NSW Deputy Premier John Barilaro to lobby to get them back,” Mr Provest said.
"We're campaigning to get them back next year and we're going to win.”
Setting up at Kingscliff in the lead-up to Origin games one and three, the Blues trained daily at Cudgen Leagues Club and frequented Kingscliff's beaches and shops.
Kingscliff Chamber of Commerce acting president Nerida Dean said the camps had been a win for local businesses.
"These things are great (for) bringing people back to town,” she said.
"When the Blues are in town, people come out and spend their money, so it's good for the local community with spending locally instead of elsewhere.”
Mrs Dean said while Kingscliff was traditionally busiest during Queensland School holidays, the town had been busier this month during the NSW school holidays. Extending beyond Kingscliff, the Blues made appearances during game one at Murwillumbah and game three in South Tweed.
Mr Provest said there would be a focus on expanding on the Blues' role during the camps if they returned.
"When you live in a regional area, exposure to legends is few and far between, but this gave a great opportunity for fans young and old to meet their heroes,” he said.
He said the off-field role a top-level sporting side like the Blues played in society was invaluable.
"I've always noticed here in winter months, with (sports), we see a significant decline in anti-social behaviour when there's kids that have to go to training, to games, and have that responsibility,” Mr Provest said.
"The more we can promote these sports the better off the wider community will be.”