With only three wins between them this season, Saturday night’s clash between the Brisbane Broncos and Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs at Suncorp Stadium threatens to turn into a mockbuster.
Playing State of Origin at the end of the year “keeps the integrity” of the coronavirus-hit NRL season, Brisbane coach Anthony Seibold says.
But the Broncos mentor expects the interstate series to return to its traditional mid-season slot next year.
The ARL Commission announced the 2020 Origin series would be held after the October 25 NRL grand final in a new-look, post-shutdown calendar – much to Seibold’s relief.
“It keeps the integrity of the competition in many ways,” Seibold said.
“We’ve already had so many distractions over the last few weeks it is the right thing for this year.
“We can just focus on what we are trying to do at club level.”
As a former Queensland assistant and now Brisbane coach Seibold has seen first hand the toll Origin takes on players and teams.
And he believed it was the last thing NRL clubs needed in a season shortened to 20 rounds by the virus.
“Origin is incredible on the sporting calendar and I love it as a proud Queensland person,” Seibold said.
“But I think for us not having that window where you lose players for up to six weeks makes sense.
“And it’s not just the physical side of things, it’s the mental side as well.
“My experience as a (Queensland assistant) and also now as a head coach of players who have come back (from Origin), mentally it is a little bit draining as well.”
However, Seibold expected Origin to revert back to a mid-year series next season.
“To have it outside the season this year in a unique year makes sense to me (but) whether it stays like that, I doubt it,” he said.
“I imagine it will come back to the middle of the year next year.”
However Queensland coach Kevin Walters could see the benefits of retaining the Origin series at year’s end.
“It just makes for a great end of the season,” he told Sky Sports Radio.