Wishing for State of Origin to come back to AFL
Is now the time for State of Origin to return to the AFL? Some of us are old enough to remember State of Origin, with the passion it generated between The Big V and South Australia.
We remember the big V being defeated by New South Wales (some of whom were selected because they spent time in New South Wales on holiday).
We remember the high-scoring affairs of The Big V against Western Australia. Who of that era will ever forget Plugger embracing Teddy Whitten, and that emotional last lap for that footy great in his last days?
Then we wonder, will it ever come back? And what went wrong in the first place, was it a combination of things or one single thing? For mine it was because we never really embraced the concept as important, we were more concerned with tribal victories than seeing the greats competing at a higher level?
Perhaps it’s because, bragging rights aside, there wasn’t really anything to gain. But for those of you who still miss the concept, as I do, isn’t it time it was back on the agenda?
Whatever happens, Australian rules football will always lack that representative aspect that both rugby codes and football have naturally. Of course there is the International Rules series, but it has never been the same. So in the interests of discussion I will put forward my idea.
First, don’t copy the format from rugby league. Being compared to something that has such history and passion would only hurt the concept, as well as meaning the best players may not be available. No fan wants to see their stars hurt or suspended mid-season when a premiership is at stake.
Second, make it so there is something more on the line than bragging rights. Lastly, don’t overdo it.
My suggestion is to hold a proper championship every three years, and have every state represented. Victoria, South Australia, West Australia, Tasmania, New South Wales/ACT, and Queensland/Northern Territory.
Have it run in the off season, say the month of November, and have everyone play each other once.
It means there will be three home games for Victoria, South Australia, and Western Australia, but only two for NSW/ACT, Queensland/NT and Tasmania (which could be played at Metricon, Skoda, etc).
Have a top three with second and third playing off to meet first in the final.
The biggest obstacle of course will be the clubs – no-one wants to lose a player to injury, so offer the clubs compensation picks according to value. Chris Judd would equal a late first-round pick, and so on.
The AFL could also pay the player’s wages for the duration of the injury. Lastly, the club concerned would have their number of players on their list and their cap increased to fit that player in.
To ensure that the best players play, only those selected for state honors could be selected for all-Australian sides and International Rules series. Lastly, reduce the NAB cup format to allow players to recover.
Just think, Kieran Jack, Lenny Hayes, Tom Hawkins, Justin Koschitzke, Adam Schneider, Lewis Roberts-Thompson, Brent Staker and the like, all wearing light blue. Ah, to dream!
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