You know the funny part about the City vs Country contest? You can be from Newcastle, Canberra or Wollongong, and with a straight face talk about how proud you are to be a country boy.
City vs Country is the most irrelevant contest in Rugby League. It is a game that no longer holds any meaning what so ever to anyone taking part in the match. It is a game that is based on a rivalry that has not existed for decades.
Not a single player that will take part in the 2014 City vs Country match was alive when this game actually meant something. On Sunday afternoon we will watch 34 highly paid professional football players throw on a jersey and pretending they represent something.
Sure the players will all say the right things, they are professionals! We will see players talk about how important Country Rugby League is to the game, forgetting the fact that the City team actually wins most of these contests. We will see the City players trying to bullshit their way through interviews with the “I’m proud to be…city?” said more than a few dozen times to journalists who are filthy they’ve had to travel to some out of the way town to cover this dead contest.
Meanwhile, everyone just turns up for a pay day. Another chance to get a rep payment, a booster in your contract because you made a rep side, and the possibility that someone, somewhere will actually remember that you played well on some windswept oval in Dubbo a few weeks ahead of the State Of Origin series.
Lets not pretend that every single Country player didn’t leave the country as soon as humanly possible. Some of these blokes were still in high school when their parents signed contracts to get them out of the country so they could have a better life. How can you be proud to be a Country boy when you went to high school in Sydney on a scholarship with an NRL club? You weren’t tossing hay-bails off the back of a tractor, you were doing party drugs in Kings Cross and trying not to knock up football groupies!
Some people like to pretend this is a selection trial for the New South Wales State Of Origin team. Lets pretend it is, just for arguments sake.
Since the City vs Country game was brought back in 2001 New South Wales have won just 3 of the 13 State Of Origin series that have been played. Doesn’t seem like the City vs Country game is working out all that well for NSW does it?
Queensland sit back and laugh their arses off at this game. They don’t need a City vs Country contest as a selection trail. They have Fiji vs Samoa on Saturday night to check out their fringe rep players!
If administrators want to play football games in country areas they should simply get more NRL games played in these areas. Give Country Rugby League fans actual games that mean something that they can attend.
We don’t need this contest from a bygone era to fill out the Rugby League representative calender. We have plenty of international teams we could watch play over the representative weekend that would give us better contests than the City vs Country match will give us.
On Sunday afternoon, I might watch the game, but then again, I might not. I don’t care who wins the match and I don’t really care who plays well in the match. As long as the players from my club don’t get injured, I won’t think about this game for even a second once the final siren sounds.
City vs Country? Please. Can we move on from this relic of a contest already…
A well known Rugby League writer, League Freak has established a reputation among supporters of the game for his fearless commentary and unmatched insight. With a reach that spans both sides of the globe, League Freak has produced an independent network that allows him to distribute content to his many thousands of followers. He is the owner and main author of LeagueFreak.com
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