At least once a month, the debate of whether the AFL should revive State of Origin or introduce an All-Star game seems to arise.
For as long as the AFL is going to neglect the issue, the debate will rage throughout media outlets, workplaces, pubs and schools across the country.
There is no doubting that the AFL is missing out on a possible goldmine.
Across the world there are many examples of successful events in all different sports. Close by, the NRL has an All Stars game and a world-renowned State of Origin series every season.
It is well known that getting the chance to represent their home state or heritage is a huge incentive for footallers in the eastern states. Unlike the AFL, the NRL administrators aren’t afraid to risk possible injuries, which means they can put on the best spectacle possible.
The recent NRL All Stars versus Indigenous All Stars game is a great example of how much the public enjoy seeing the best of the best go at it. The regular encounter is now an unofficial season launch.
While this was all going on, the AFL attempted a similar contest by setting up an Indigenous team to play Richmond. The drastic lack of publicity and coverage should have been embarrassing.
Once again I believe it all comes back to the AFL’s fear of losing one or two stars to injury and having them miss some of the regular season.
This naive outlook becomes laughable when you realise that two of the biggest sporting leagues in the world, both financially and in terms of popularity, hold regular All Star showcases.
The NBA and the NFL are multi-billion dollar industries, but they don’t mind letting their superstar players who have contracts worth tens of millions of dollars play in these showpiec events.
They do this because they know that it is an important part of the spectacle that is the NBA and the NFL. What if Lebron or Kobe did a knee and missed a year? Well, what if? Even with this in mind, they still let them play.
I hope that some time in the near future the AFL realises that bringing back State of Origin or introducing a regular All Star game would add a whole new dimension to the season and would more than likely be a huge success.