The NRL is going all-out on turning State of Origin from the cultural phenomenon that it already is into an all-encompassing spectacular in 2018, announcing today that Peking Duk has been tapped to provide pre-game entertainment before this year’s series kicks off in a few weeks.

Game 1 of the series is scheduled for June 6, with a crowd in excess of 90,000 expected to be in attendance at the MCG for the annual Queensland vs New South Wales clash.

NRL bosses have been putting extra emphasis onto the State of Origin series this year, shifting Game 2 of the series from its usual Wednesday night slot to a standalone game in primetime on Sunday, June 24th; a weekend that will feature no regular NRL games.

NRL Chief Commercial Officer Andrew Abdo lauded the announcement in a statement this morning.

We have a very special pre-game show planned for the MCG and Peking Duk will showcase it spectacularly.

Origin is the biggest sporting rivalry in the country and the entertainment will be a great lead-in to a series which is built on passion and energy.

There is nothing like Origin when it comes to on-field intensity and we certainly aim to ensure the night-time spectacular complements the game itself.

This year’s Origin will feature a vastly different-looking Queensland lineup, thanks to yesterday’s abrupt announcement from Cameron Smith that he would be immediately quitting all rep footy, leaving Queensland to field a lineup without any of Smith, Cooper Cronk, and Johnathan Thurston for the first time in recent memory.

Could be on for young and old in this series, mates. Strap the hell in.

Image: Twitter / NRL