NRL makes massive call on national anthem singer for State of Origin 2 after Game 1 debacle

Dylan Wright's rendition of Advance Australia Fair was pretty polarising.

The NRL is taking no chances with the national anthem ahead of Wednesday night's State of Origin 2 following backlash over the controversial rendition delivered before Game 1. Australian Idol winner Dylan Wright polarised fans with a slow tempo, acoustic version of Advance Australia Fair before Origin 1 in Sydney earlier this month.

Some called Wright's take on the anthem "diabolical" and "hipster" and among the worst renditions heard at a major Australian sporting event. Seasoned Daily Telegraph league reporter Dean "Bulldog" Ritchie likened the performance to a street busker.

Queensland and NSW players attempting to sing along to the anthem appeared lost as the words were delivered at a slower rhythm than they were prepared for. Many wore half-amused expressions at they tried to keep pace with Wright's version.

Dylan Wright, pictured here performing the national anthem before State of Origin 1.
Dylan Wright's rendition of the national anthem before State of Origin 1 was very polarising. Image: Getty

NSW captain Jake Trbojevic's confused reaction was turned into a meme as fans vented on social media. "Not a fan of artists putting their spin on the national anthem. Either sing it properly or just play the Julie Anthony recording," wrote one unimpressed supporter, echoing the thoughts of thousands.

But Wright, a massive Sharks fans, did garner some support from those happy to hear a different slant put on the anthem. Many applauded the singer for having the courage to change things up.


But it's safe to say the NRL won’t be taking a similar risk again. The governing body has gone down a more conservative road for Game 2, with singer/actress Sheridan Adams given the honour of belting out the national anthem in front of 90,000 fans at the MCG.

Adams, who is performing in Wicked the Musical at Melbourne's Regent Theatre, sang the anthem before this year's Australian Open women's tennis final at Melbourne Park. She received a rousing reception from the capacity crowd, bringing her to tears.

Dylan Wright performing Advance Australia Fair before State of Origin 1.
Dylan Wright performed a somewhat alternate version of Advance Australia Fair. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)
Sheridan Adams, pictured here performing the national anthem at the Australian Open.
Sheridan Adams performed the national anthem before the women's final at the Australian Open. (Photo by James D. Morgan/Getty Images)

"I have grown up watching the Australian Open every summer. It reminds me of home and my family - and I am so excited to be singing the anthem tonight before the Women’s Final," Adams said before the anthem. "To be even a small part of tonight is such a gift."

It's understood Adams has no plans to deviate from the traditional rendition of the anthem before Origin II. Aunty Joy Murphy will perform the Welcome to Country before the anthem, with The Temper Trap providing the pre-match entertainment. The Blues must win Game 2 to stay alive in the series.