State of Origin broadcaster Channel Nine says it's been set up for "failure" after the Queensland government denied a request for technical staff to be granted a quarantine exemption for Wednesday night's decider at Suncorp Stadium.
The Maroons will be out to stop the Blues making it three straight series victories when the sides lock horns in Brisbane on Wednesday night.
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However, it's far from the only battle Origin being waged.
Nine has hit out at the Queensland government after having "specialty worker" exemptions turned down by the state’s Chief Medical Officer CMO) Dr Jeanette Young.
The broadcaster requested exemptions for 20 members of their technical staff 10 days ago, so they don't have to undergo the mandatory 14-day quarantine for interstate visitors from NSW.
According to Nine's Wide World of Sport, the group included producers, directors, floor managers and specialty cameramen - as well as commentators.
However, Dr Jeanette Young knocked back the request and insisted that staff would have to quarantine for 14 days unless they were part of the NRL bubble.
“They‘re welcome to come but they will have to quarantine for 14 days,” she said.
“If they are part of the (NRL) bubble they can. If they‘re not part of that, they have to apply for an exemption to be allowed into the state and then they would have to hotel quarantine.
“I would (grant an exemption) to allow them to come into the state, and I frequently have, but they would have to quarantine in a hotel for 14 days.”
Nine claimed that the CMO's call had set them up for "technical failure" in what was described as the "year’s biggest match".
If the Qld Health Minister denies @Channel9’s ‘specialty worker’ exemptions for Wednesday’s SOO decider they will be responsible for putting the broadcast of the year’s biggest match at risk of technical failure. 1/2
— NRL on Nine (@NRLonNine) November 14, 2020
The list of exemptions include directors, producers, specialty camera operators & technical experts, not just commentators. 2/2
— NRL on Nine (@NRLonNine) November 14, 2020
“If the Qld Health Minister denies @Channel9’s ‘specialty worker’ exemptions for Wednesday’s SOO decider they will be responsible for putting the broadcast of the year’s biggest match at risk of technical failure,” Channel 9 tweeted.
“The list of exemptions include directors, producers, specialty camera operators & technical experts, not just commentators.”
Nine's claims have been met with more than a degree of scepticism, considering the channel broadcasts matches from Queensland every round in the NRL.
League fans were quick to point this fact out to the broadcaster on social media.
You can't really be saying that none of your Qld crew, the ones who broadcast NRL games throughout the season, are capable of doing the job 🤷♂️
— Paul Serong (@PurplePaulMelb) November 14, 2020
They really can be saying that and it is obviously bullshit.
— Neilhoh (@Neilhoh) November 14, 2020
Coverage of the women's match was great last night - everyone involved with that are already in Qld & would be well capable of doing the job Wed night as well. Also you can't expect us to believe you fly everyone in from Sydney for every Broncos, Cowboys or Titans home game
— Robyn (@flutter_rob) November 14, 2020
Prior preparation and planning prevents a piss poor performance. Look in the mirror 9. Your stuff up is not everyone else’s emergency.
— Boxy (@kevinr5127) November 14, 2020
Why can’t these jobs be done by existing Queensland-based staff? What special skills do Warren, Gus, Bracey and Karl bring to the state that can’t be performed by a toaster from BigW?
— Hashfield Mexicans Appreciation Society (@muzonsport) November 14, 2020
You seemed to manage the Women's game all right, I'm sure the 'speciality workers' from last night can step in.
— Mark (@DankFozz) November 14, 2020
Trying to not feel incredibly insulted by this.Qld has these aforementioned positions available and are perfectly able to fulfil any task set to them and have done so repeatedly for nine. As an almost 30 year veteran of the outside broadcast industry I can testify to this fact.
— Scott Price (@futureozprez) November 14, 2020
Decision could impact legendary caller
The Queensland government's move could mean legendary commentator Ray Warren has called his last league game.
Warren called Games I and II but told the Daily Telegraph recently that he was considering calling time on a glittering 55-year stint in the commentary booth.
“I’m going to sit back, relax and enjoy Christmas and January and then make a decision,” he said.
“It might have been my last grand final the other week, I honestly don’t know.
“If I’d announced before the game I wouldn’t have got through it. I get very emotional when I think about it.
“It’s hard to imagine what it would be like without broadcasting sport. It’s been five-and-a-half decades. I’ve never really treated it as a job. It’s more like a toy or a novelty. I’ve been really fortunate.”
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