Money is the reason that State Of Origin eligibility rules were slowly undermined by both states since the inception of the State Of Origin concept in the early 1980’s.
people can talk about passion until they are Blue or Maroon in the face. The fact is that from day one coaches and officials looked at the rule book and found ways around picking people born and bred in their State Of Origin for outsiders who were born elsewhere, but who were better players.
In 2014, after trying to tighten up the “The rules are there are no rules” years, we still find ourselves in a situation where a kid born in Queensland is told he can not play for Queensland.
It is time to have one hard and fast rule for the State Of Origin series…
You play for the state you were born in.
That is it! No loopholes, no father/son rule. Nothing about where you played junior football, where you went to school, where you got your first drivers licence, where you bought your first jersey or where you took your first selfie.
It is called State Of Origin for a reason. People wanted to see how home grown talent from New South Wales would go against home grown talent from Queensland. So the question must be asked, why don’t we just go back to that? Why don’t we hold the State Of Origin series to a higher standard than everything else?
The argument is that such a rule would see too many players not born in New South Wales or Queensland miss out on the series. It is a tough situation but one I think is not any worse than seeing Kiwi’s, Fijians, Papua New Guineans, New South Welshmen and Queenslanders all running around pretending they are something else anyway!
Imagine the marketing opportunity for the sport if all the players on the field were born in the state they played for. A true State Of Origin contest. That couldn’t be beat!
While other representative sporting fixtures plays with their rules, Rugby League could stand above all others with a series that truly was a representative fixture.
Professional sportsmen have changed the way representative sport is played these days. We see people changing which country they represent all the time based upon what will earn them the most money.
At some point an administration has to put their foot down and protect the integrity of the contest. That is their job! State Of Origin football would not miss a beat if all of the players on both teams simply played for the state they were born in. It would still rate through the roof, it would still sell out every game, people would still go crazy for it. So what is the problem?
If an Australian players born outside of New South Wales or Queensland was good enough, they’d still make the Australian team. Players play for Australia before having played State Of Origin football all the time. Playing State Of Origin football isn’t much of an advantage for a player when the Australian team is selected at the end of the season.
I would happily see the Australia, New Zealand and England teams also go down the same pathway and only be able to select players born in those countries. If we want to develop international Rugby League these three very strong Rugby League nations need to stop selecting players born elsewhere over their own countrymen.
maybe its an idealists point of view. Maybe I want to see the sport go back to the days of knowing that this is a group of blokes from one part of the world taking on a group of blokes from a completely different part of the world. Maybe I’m sick of seeing people having to learn the national anthem of the new country they decided to play for because the match payments let them pay off their car a little quicker.
Then again…maybe its a great idea that our games administrators should adopt as soon as possible!
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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