Queensland

Rugby Championship double-headers to be held in Queensland

New Zealand and Australia are currently subject to lockdowns and the All Blacks cancelled two games last week including their Bledisloe Cup match in Perth.

But Queensland, largely free of coronavirus, has been deemed safe to host all four nations.

The new fixtures will be double-headers over four weekends from 12 September.

The Championship kicked off at Eden Park in New Zealand on 14 August, with the hosts thrashing the Wallabies 57-22.

Australia, Queensland and Storm great retires, aged 37

Smith played a record 430 National Rugby League games at club level and played in 56 Tests for the Kangaroos.

He won two World Cups, 11 State of Origin series with the Maroons and three NRL titles, including in 2020.

"It felt like the right time," Smith said. "You couldn't have asked for more than finishing with a premiership at a club I've played my whole career with."

Brisbane-born Smith made his name in Melbourne, helping the Storm become a force following his 2002 debut, and transferred his form to representative football.

Queensland opens borders to New Zealand

New Zealanders will be able to travel into to the Australian state without having to quarantine from 1am local time on Saturday.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said in a tweet that more New Zealand citizens call Queensland home than any other Australian state.

"With Kiwis able to travel to Queensland from tomorrow, families can finally be reunited in time for Christmas."

"I was advised late last night by Dr Jeannette Young, our Chief Health Officer, that New Zealanders are welcome to come," the Premier said.

Vanuatu investigates 'substantial' pay and welfare issues of seasonal workers in Queensland

Samson Vilvil Fare has visited farms in Queensland to talk to workers and employers, following reports Pacific Islanders were leaving their employers in the Bundaberg region in search of better pay.

"They didn't have enough working hours in what they were promised to have," Mr Fare said.

"This is one of the main issues … they're not making enough money."

Mr Fare said it was unclear what the consequences were for a worker's visa status if they absconded from an employer.

Queensland to close borders to NSW and ACT

It comes as the state recorded one new case of coronavirus overnight.

The 68-year-old Queensland woman was diagnosed with the virus in the past 24 hours and authorities are still investigating the source of the infection.

Two historic cases have also been added to the state's total of 1,088 cases.

The hotspot declaration means anyone travelling from NSW or the nation's capital will soon be banned from entering the Sunshine State.

Queenslanders who return after travelling there will be sent to mandatory hotel quarantine for 14 days at their own expense.

QLD waiting to see NRL plan

The NRL is looking to resume its season on May 28, with clubs to return to training early next month despite the coronavirus pandemic.

But Palaszczuk said she was still waiting to hear from the NRL, which has three clubs – Brisbane Broncos, North Queensland Cowboys and Gold Coast Titans – based in Queensland.

"I have not seen any detailed plan," she told a news conference on Thursday.

Fresh warnings in Queensland and New South Wales

About 150 fires are still burning in New South Wales (NSW) and Queensland, feeding off tinder-dry conditions.

Fifty houses were destroyed or damaged in NSW on Tuesday but no lives were lost, officials said. At one point, fires broke out in suburbs of Sydney.

On Wednesday, blazes caused fresh emergencies in Queensland.

"The conditions are of concern to us," Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk told reporters.

The threat in NSW has been downgraded from catastrophic - the highest level - but officials urged residents to remain vigilant.

State of Origin: The key numbers as NSW Blues hope to make home advantage count in decider

After the bitter blow of losing to Queensland Maroons in Brisbane first time out, a thumping 38-6 victory for the Blues in Game II was a stark contrast.

Yet ahead of this week's crucial game, Queensland can point to having won on four of their last seven visits to the former Olympic Stadium, while they also possess a supreme recent record in deciding games.

We look at key facts and figures with the help of Opta numbers ahead of Game III.

Queensland win Origin opener

A try-scoring double by man of the match Dane Gagai helped the Maroons overcome an 8-0 halftime deficit and a string of missed chances to draw first blood in front of 52,191 fans.

It was a dream start for Queensland's new Origin era as they look to reclaim the title.

And it was a pretty good look for polarising mind coach Bradley Charles Stubbs.

Ahead of his fourth campaign, Maroons coach Kevin Walters was looking for inspiration as his side began an Origin series without the last of their future Immortals, Billy Slater and Greg Inglis.

NSW seal Origin series in Sydney

Blues coach Brad Fittler, new to the role this year, guided New South Wales to victory in his first match in Melbourne and they wrapped up just their second series win in 13 years with a game to spare on Sunday.

Unlike in 2017, NSW were able to build on their opening victory, even with veteran Billy Slater back from injury for the Maroons.