Origin over: time for rugby league’s true pinnacle

Hossey Roar Guru

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    English player John Bryce is tackled by Australia Glenn Stewart (left) and Steve Price the during Australia versus England Rugby League World Cup pool match at Docklands Stadium in Melbourne, Sunday, Nov 2, 2008. Australia won 52 - 4. AAP Image/Julian Smith

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    Now that State of Origin is finished for 2013, hopefully the rugby league world can afford the same hype and bombast to the game’s true pinnacle – the Rugby League World Cup.

    State of Origin is an incredible demonstration of what rugby league is all about and it will always hold a special place in the heart of all fans.

    Yet we cannot let this distract us from the fact international rugby league success should be the absolute highest honour a team or player can strive for.

    Rugby league had the first World Cup of either rugby code, in France of all places, in 1954. As such, it should be far ahead of its step-sister, rugby union, yet somehow it is not.

    It doesn’t help that the media seem to afford no space to the development of rugby league around the world.

    Rugby league is by no means an international juggernaut, but very promising steps are being taken across the globe which should be documented, congratulated and celebrated.

    For those who have been kept in the dark over RLWC developments by the mainstream media, here are but a few of them:

    Italy and the United States both had to undergo qualification tournaments in their respective regions to get a place at this year’s World Cup.

    Italy were only separated from Lebanon by points difference in the European group, which shows the side isn’t just a ring-in to fill a spot, it had to genuinely fight for its chance to compete in England and Wales come the end of the year.

    With players like Anthony Minichiello (also captain) and Craig Gower both committed to represent Italy at the tournament, they could be the surprise packet at their very first World Cup.

    The USA had a less torrid trial to enter the competition, but the greatest sign from them is the high number of domestic representation in that qualifying squad.

    Only eight of the 28 man squad played outside of the United States, which shows a lot of promise in the US domestic scene, especially when considered that Jamaica had very high representation from English rugby league sides.

    Under the tutelage of NRL coach Matthew Elliot, the United States will be playing in their first Rugby League World Cup and, like Italy, could surprise a few pundits who won’t give them a chance against some of the more established nations.

    Speaking of Matthew Elliot, the calibre of coaches which are now attached to international teams has greatly improved on the road to the RLWC, with many now being led by current or former NRL coaches.

    Rick Stone at Fiji, Steve Price at Samoa and Mal Meninga working with Adrian Lam at Papua New Guinea are all great signs for these nation’s chances.

    England, New Zealand and France have all indicated they will partake in warm-up matches against Italy, the Cook Islands and the USA respectively, giving these developing countries even more experience against the top sides of international rugby league.

    So let’s all leave Origin in the past, get excited about the World Cup and encourage the spread of the gospel of rugby league across the world.

    The Rugby League World Cup should be the pinnacle of our sport, it’s about time we start treating it as such.

    If you could choose from any and every NRL player in the competition, who would you pick in your rugby league dream team? Let us know with our team picker right here, and be sure to share it with all your league-loving mates.

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    The Crowd Says (59)

    • July 19th 2013 @ 6:56am
      qldfan said | July 19th 2013 @ 6:56am | ! Report

      Can’t wait for this tournament. I only wish our media would acknowledge what is happening in the game around the world. I would like to see them tell the public of the strides the game is taking in the world. I see Canada beat USA recently and that they play Jamaica soon…..there is life in the game outside Australia and UK.

      • Roar Guru

        July 19th 2013 @ 9:54am
        Hossey said | July 19th 2013 @ 9:54am | ! Report

        Yep, I was going to mention Canada. They didn’t feature in the qualifiers so it would have been interesting for the USA if they had.

    • Roar Guru

      July 19th 2013 @ 7:55am
      Sleiman Azizi said | July 19th 2013 @ 7:55am | ! Report

      It’s ridiculous to think that you can only have one (Origin) or the other (Tests).

      You can obviously have both. What would make it easier is if Origin was a direct qualifier for Test football.

      Very much looking forward to the World Cup, blowouts and all!

      • July 19th 2013 @ 10:27am
        Alvin Purple said | July 19th 2013 @ 10:27am | ! Report

        Who said that you can only have one or the other?

        It just so happens that International RL is not up to the standard of the test matches in both quality of opposition or crowd passion.

        England and NZ are really the only countries that can match with Australia and that is if Australia is having a poor game and they are at their best. I am looking forward to improvements from both France, PNG and Fiji with some good RL entertainment from the Somoa and Tonga teams.

        As far as the rest of the teams are concerned it is good to see them represented and it helps get more income in via ticket and TV rights but I am not so sure what other value they get from this.

        Either way I am looking forward to this and hopefully the game can build on it.

        • Roar Guru

          July 19th 2013 @ 11:12am
          Sleiman Azizi said | July 19th 2013 @ 11:12am | ! Report

          Alvin, lots respond as if it has to be one or the other.

          There seems to be a prevailing mood that quality, passion etc are greater in Origin than in Tests. A lot of these people seem to forget the many one sided contests we’ve witnessed in Origin.

          But the passion and consistent staging of Origin allows its story to take hold which then makes up for the blowouts that do occur. And, of course, that is how it should be!

          I’m looking forward to the World Cup too and more importantly, I’m looking forward to when international league (even if it just the big three) enjoys the same chance at its story making up for any blowouts that occur.

          • July 19th 2013 @ 2:40pm
            Alvin Purple said | July 19th 2013 @ 2:40pm | ! Report

            I have never seen or heard one person say it is one or the other. Please point out where you may have seen these comments, at least on the roar anyway.

            There have been very few one sided contests in Origin history. Despite Qld 8 year run the games won by each side are pretty close as is the average score. And yes the quality and passion is greater in Origin than in the test arena. To argue any differently would be silly.

            I too am looking forward to the world cup but in my opinion it has a long way to go. Wishing it was different does not change the ability of the other countries competing.

            • Roar Guru

              July 19th 2013 @ 11:01pm
              Sleiman Azizi said | July 19th 2013 @ 11:01pm | ! Report

              Oh, come now Alvin. You mean to tell me that you haven’t read a single comment where the impression is that Origin is more important than Test football?

              Origin and Test football aren’t mutually exclusive and to say that passion is lacking in international matches is to do a great disservice to those who compete for their countries. If Australia smashes England, for example, that is not an indication that the English lack passion for their jersey. It is an indication that there needs to be more matches played.

              The quality of the matches amongst the big three relies solely upon consistency of staging. In particular, the NZ side is just as skilled and talented as the Australian side, particularly given that the players all play in the NRL. Regular matches go a long way to fine tuning the teamwork etc needed to present a good showing. The skill and quality is there.

              It’s true, there haven’t been that many blowouts in State of Origin but there have been and when they do occur, nobody calls for the end of Origin. Nor should they. The story of Origin makes up for the blowouts. More importantly, it makes up for any average matches.

              Test football, unfortunately, is rarely afforded this luxury. I am, and I suspect that you would be too, looking forward to the day it is.

    • July 19th 2013 @ 8:27am
      Dan said | July 19th 2013 @ 8:27am | ! Report

      Well what used to make origin different from test football was the even nature of the two sides, but with NSW looking like they’ll likely lose until the current maroons retire, it’s actually become somewhat of an analogue for test footy

      • Roar Guru

        July 19th 2013 @ 8:52am
        Sleiman Azizi said | July 19th 2013 @ 8:52am | ! Report

        And yet it is still interesting.

        Goes to show what good marketing and promotion can do with a good concept.

        • Roar Guru

          July 19th 2013 @ 10:03am
          Hossey said | July 19th 2013 @ 10:03am | ! Report

          I hope the RLWC gets the same good marketing and promotion. A World Cup is the easiest kind of tournament to sell and it’s still stuck in the shadows.

          • Roar Guru

            July 19th 2013 @ 11:47pm
            Sleiman Azizi said | July 19th 2013 @ 11:47pm | ! Report

            A story and the ability to sell it.

            That’s what international league needs.

    • July 19th 2013 @ 9:18am
      hutch said | July 19th 2013 @ 9:18am | ! Report

      Great article! Cannot wait til the World Cup and lucky for us the entire tournament is on free to air tele in aus!!!

      • Roar Guru

        July 19th 2013 @ 9:54am
        Hossey said | July 19th 2013 @ 9:54am | ! Report

        Hopefully Channel 7 treat rugby league with a bit less disdain than Channel 9 usually do.

        • July 21st 2013 @ 11:05am
          Boomshanka said | July 21st 2013 @ 11:05am | ! Report

          That shouldn’t be too hard. Any Network with an ounce of respect for the game would treat rugby league better than Channel 9.

          Channel 9 are the sewer rats of Australian media.

    • July 19th 2013 @ 10:19am
      Renegade said | July 19th 2013 @ 10:19am | ! Report

      I’m heading over to the World Cup and cannot wait….it’s going to be a terrific tournament.

      The organisers have done a brilliant job so far.

      • Roar Guru

        July 19th 2013 @ 11:10am
        Hossey said | July 19th 2013 @ 11:10am | ! Report

        Looks extremely promising. It’s a shame half the rugby league world doesn’t know about it yet.

        • July 20th 2013 @ 11:18am
          Matt_S said | July 20th 2013 @ 11:18am | ! Report

          Well Rabs mentioned the World Cup last night on Friday nite footy, the World Cup gets plenty of mentions on the NRL’s FB page, and there are mentions of it in regular articles in newspapers. Channel 7 mentioned it is broadcasting the cup a few times on news outlets like Sunrise etc, so word is getting out there, and I’m sure Seven will ramp up coverage closer to the event.

          Heck even the Jillaroos have been on The Game Plan, Footy Shows (Thurs & Sun), paraded at Origin III, so the amount of exposure has been quite good.

    • Roar Guru

      July 19th 2013 @ 11:05am
      Andrew Marmont said | July 19th 2013 @ 11:05am | ! Report

      Nice work Pat, more focus and energy into the World Cup and Test football the better!

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