It has been announced that the behind the scenes documentary scheduled for this year's State of Origin has been abruptly canned, per The Sydney Morning Herald.
This is another twist in the currently tense relationship between league boss Peter V'landys and the NRL front office and the RLPA.
ORIGIN: NSW Side for Origin I named
The NRL are understood to have been working around the clock over the past two years trying to set up a documentary about one of the sports biggest spectacles: State of Origin.
Production was seen to be coming together for the 2021 series, with the NRL committing to this year's three-game series as the opportunity they were waiting for to showcase what goes on behind closed doors.
Those plans have now been scrapped after the NRL were emailed by the RLPA as well as Queensland and New South Wales leagues stating that access to the players during State of Origin was not going to be granted.
The stance taken by the RLPA looks to be in relation with more recent reports that a number of senior players are disgruntled with V'landys and the NRL front office, expressing their belief that the boss should stand down.
NRL Chief Executive Andrew Abdo has expressed the NRL's frustration with the RLPA's recent actions and the implications they have had.
″We’ve been trying now for two years to get all the stakeholders to agree to a behind-the-scenes documentary of State of Origin,″ Abdo said, per The Sydney Morning Herald.
″We have seen this be hugely successful in other sports. It’s important for us to tell the wonderful stories of our game and to show the public the heroes that exist behind the scenes as part of sport’s greatest rivalry."
Abdo conceded that talks weren't fruitful, but vowed to keep discussing options with the RLPA.
"We’re frustrated we haven’t been able to get agreement to get this done, but we’re going to keep trying," he said.
Although the documentary that was set to be aired on Nine's streaming service Stan is off the cards, that's not to say that the State of Origin is cancelled also. Not that it hasn't been with it's own challenges.
With the current COVID situation in Victoria, there has been doubts over the first of the three game series which was scheduled to be played at the MCG.
Peter V'landys admitted to 2GB on Friday that it will be unlikely that the opening State of Origin clash would be played at the MCG.
"It seems it probably won't be able to be held at the MCG," V'landys said.
"We'll do what we believe is best commercially for the game. Every government around Australia has come to us looking for it, so there's no shortage of venues."
The NRL is likely to announce within the next couple of days where the opening game will be held.