Where to watch State of Origin on the Northern Rivers
NO MATTER the colour of your scarf and face paint for the first round of the State of Origin, watching the game on a big screen with cold drinks and complimentary bar snacks is a ritual no rugby league fan wants to miss.
On Sunday at 7.50pm, across the region cinemas, pubs and clubs will be packed, balloons and posters will be decorating the bars and fans will be wearing the appropriate scarves as it's state versus state and mate versus mate.
Like the Melbourne Cup which attracts die-hard fans and once a year experts, everyone will be passionate and have an opinion on the second round of the three match series.
And they will be sharing their prediction of the big result with anyone who cares to listen.
Meanwhile, those who can't arrange a designated driver - or who have to be up extra early on Thursday morning for work - will have booked the biggest television in the house, planned to park some cool drinks in an esky by the couch and piled the coffee table with nutritious snacks.
So cue the drum roll, here in alphabetical order are 10 of the best spots in our region to watch the game:
In the Sports Lounge there will be State of Origin playing on the big screen upstairs on Level 1.
A spokeswoman said everyone is welcome to "rock on up in your colours and have fun!”
"We do have happy hour from 8pm to 8.30pm and $10 dining specials. Choose between a delicious lamb burger with chips or a ham and pineapple pizza,” she said
"When members swipe the card to purchase Tooheys or XXX gold get to go in the draw to win a framed 2018 NSW State of Origin jersey signed by the entire team.”
A complimentary shuttle bus is just one of the good reasons fans should come by the Bangalow Bowlo, 21 Byron Bay Rd, according to general manager Chris Watson.
"Everyone is welcome to watch game two with us,” he said.
"Complimentary finger food at half and a courtesy bus running all over Bangalow is available.”
Rock along to 1 Bay St, Byron Bay, to see the game in the main bar where it will be shown on all the TV screens.
"We have a blow up screen on the main stage,” a spokeswoman said.
CHERRY STREET SPORTS
Everyone is welcome no matter their team at 68 Cherry St, Ballina.
A spokesman said the game will be shown on their massive 2.5m x 1.5m screen.
"We will serve $5 schooners from 7pm and at half-time we draw the promo of five $100 food vouchers,” he said.
"It doesn't matter who you follow, everyone is welcome to come along and watch the game.”
DOG N BULL
Bonalbo's funky little pub will have some complimentary bar snacks at half-time at the 23 Sandilands St bar.
Kerry and Paul Horne operate the Dog N Bull and said it's going to be a fun night and they will be blue streamers everywhere.
Ms Horne, who has high hopes for a NSW victory said there's a fair few Queenslanders in Bonalbo, so she expects to be outnumbered.
"We have a few visitors from Queensland working up at the hospital so we think there'll be some Maroons fans in and it will be interesting evening,” she said.
"At half-time we usually do some cheese and biscuits.”
EAST LISMORE BOWLING CLUB
Every fan is welcome to come to this family-friendly club at 76 Nielson St, East Lismore, to watch the game, bar manager Brody Stevens said.
"We have two prizes to give away comprising a jersey, scarf and head-wear package worth $150 in your team's colours and a second prize of a carton of Carlton Dry,” he said.
"Everyone who buys a rink gets a ticket in the draw, but you must at here at the end of the game when we draw the prize to collect.”
THE Eltham Hotel, which caused comments when it was repainted maroon in 2008 by its former operator, will again be welcome fans to come along and enjoy a good time watching the game.
"There will be three televisions showing the game,” a spokeswoman said.
"All sporting fans not matter their team are welcome at 441 Eltham Rd, Eltham, to enjoy the match.”
It's definitely a case of the blues for the Goonellabah Tavern, said bar manager Matt Anderson
"We will be putting up NSW decorations to support the Blues but we will put one lonely maroon balloon up,” Mr Anderson said.
"We will have a pick the score competition and the closest score gets some NSW merchandise and we have an ongoing competition with a NSW heritage jersey being drawn half for the final of the three games.
The G'Bah Tavern is at 339 Ballina Rd, Goonellabah.
LISMORE RUGBY UNION CLUB
If you want to rock along to see the game on the biggest screen in town then head contact the Lismore Rugby Union Club's event at Birch Carrol and Coyle cinema on the corner of Keen and Zadoc Streets.
Tickets are available via the club at $10 each as a fund raiser for the junior team's forthcoming tour to Fiji.
Doors open 7.15pm and game kicks off at 8pm and refreshments are available at the cinema.
Send a message to the rugby club's Facebook page to book a ticket to be sure of your seats.
In the Mary G's nightclub on the corner of Keen St and Woodlark St, fans can pop in from 7pm with a pig on a tick by gold coin donation with funds going Northern United Rugby League Football Club.
A raffle to win tickets for flights and accommodation to go to the final game in Sydney with all proceeds to going to Our Kids.
At 59 Walker St, Casino, the Oxford Hotel staff will be delighted to welcome local and visiting State of Origin fans of either team pop in for a good night out.
"We are doing complimentary finger-food and $5 schooners,” hotel manger Dave Richardson said.
"And we are family-friendly too”.