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State of Origin fever has hit Townsville in a big way with a giant Maroons flag flying proudly over the city’s busiest roundabout thanks to the Queensland Rugby League.

QRL chairman Peter Betros made a special visit to Townsville today to present the flag to the city and joined Mayor Cr Jenny Hill and QRL Northern Division chairman Leigh Anderson  in raising the mighty Maroons’ colours at the Douglas roundabout.

With NQ Cowboys’ Johnathan Thurston, Matt Scott, Michael Morgan and Justin O’Neill named in the team for Origin 1, Mr Betros said the flag flying high in the North’s capital was a powerful sight.

“I always enjoy coming to this great city and it’s looking even better now with this giant Queensland Maroons flag in the air today,” Mr Betros said.

“State of Origin is simply the best time of the year. I live and breathe it, and so do millions of others right across the country.

“But without doubt, Queenslanders do it more passionately than anyone else, particularly in the north of Queensland where you get a sense for the pride and affection the people have for this team as soon as you set foot here.”

Mr Betros thanked Townsville Mayor Cr Jenny Hill for her support.

“The Queensland Rugby League is immensely proud of Townsville’s rich rugby league history,” Mr Betros said.

“North Queensland continues to produce many outstanding players, coaches and officials.

“You only have to look at the recent success of the Townsville & Districts Blackhawks in the Intrust Super Cup and Connell and Meninga Cups to get an appreciation of the strength of the game in the north.

“And of course Townsville is home to the National Rugby League premiers who are right in the mix again in 2016.”

Cr Hill said the sight of the Queensland Maroons flag would fire up fans for the Origin series.

“Presenting the flag is a fantastic gesture by the QRL and great recognition for the city and the north,” Cr Hill said.

“We have a proud tradition in the city of producing champion players, and with the NRL title under our belt with the NQ Cowboys, we can’t wait for the Origin series.

“I’m sure the flag flying high over the city will inspire a lot of people to get behind the Maroons and yell out our famous war cry: ‘Go Queenslander’.”

Helping drive rugby league’s growth in Townsville is the QRL Northern Division, whose Chairman Leigh Anderson has been instrument in getting the flag project off the ground in conjunction with his good friend Rod Donaldson and the Townsville City Council.