NRL backflips on national anthem decision for State of Origin

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The NRL has backflipped on its decision to axe the national anthem for State of Origin following major backlash from fans.

NRL boss Peter V'landys said he was "shocked" by the outcry over the move which was "never meant to be a political statement".

Game one on Wednesday at Adelaide Oval will be the first time in the series’ history the anthem will not be played. Credit:Getty

"Playing the national anthem will be reserved for Test matches, [the NRL] grand final and ANZAC Day," Abdo said prior to the reversal. "State of Origin is about the tribalism of the two states, it's Australia's biggest sporting rivalry."

The anthem was also to be axed from the women's State of Origin on November 13. Despite the move, Abdo said the game remained "committed" to the anthem.

"You need to look no further than last weekend's grand final," he said.

Last year, Cody Walker said he would not sing the national anthem during the State of Origin opener before Latrell Mitchell and Josh Addo-Carr and Queensland’s Will Chambers joined in on the protest.

"I'm not pushing my views on anyone, it's just how me and my family have grown up and how I feel," he said at the time. "I've already voiced my opinion, and I want to reiterate it's just my opinion."

The decision over the 2020 series was made following during an ARL Commission meeting on Wednesday.

Earlier this year, the ARLC scrapped the national anthem at the All-Stars match following advice from senior Indigenous players including Latrell Mitchell.

The move came after the majority of the Indigenous side did not sing the anthem during the clash in 2019.

At the time, ARLC chairman Peter V'landys said the scrapping of the anthem was vital in demonstrating one of the important roles of the commission: to consult with players on issues that impact the game.

"The All Stars game was created as a celebration of Indigenous players and their culture," V'landys said. "We have listened to our players' concerns that the words of the anthem do not represent them or their families and does not include an acknowledgement of First Nations people.

"We respect their wishes and have agreed that the anthem will not be played."

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