Oh that’s right, there’s a Test match on!
My good mate Mick was kind enough to schedule his wedding after the footy season, but he forgot that there is a Test Match on between Australia and New Zealand this Saturday. The good news is it doesn’t matter.
I was thinking that I would watch his beautiful bride walk down the aisle then grab a quick feed at the reception just in time for the kick off, but after looking at the Kiwi line-up I think there could be more excitement in having a few more toasts to the happy couple and perhaps a waltz or two.
There is not a single player in the Kiwi team who would make the Kangaroo team, with the possible exception of Ben Matulino, who I rate as NZs best prop but will start from the bench in the Test Match. Benji Marshall and Isaac Luke are world-class players but would still not make the Aussie line-up.
When we look at the two teams, what stands out is that the Kiwis are really struggling for quality world-class players but James Tamou, who was selected in New Zealand’s train-on squad for the Four Nations in 2011, will pack down against his country wearing green and gold. Just watch his jealous face when the haka is on and when he tries to remember the words to “Advance Australia Fair”.
This situation is ludicrous and is killing international rugby league, if it is not dead already. We will witness a club football game between Sydney FC and the Newcastle Jets out-rate the Test match on Saturday and, for me, maybe my mate’s wedding.
The problem is not that difficult to solve and the lead must come from the ARLC.
With so much money involved now to play State of Origin, it is unfair to make a player choose between country and cash. The bigger picture is that non Australian teams cannot afford to lose players like Tamou. It is hurting the growth of the game outside these shores.
If a player meets the criteria to be eligible for the country he was born in and also Origin, then what is wrong with him playing in both?
Tamou playing for the Kiwis on Saturday night will not change the lopsided result but it would help a struggling nation and, in time, would assist in levelling the international playing field so people like me don’t have to choose between a wedding and a Test match.
Now what to wear?