Sam McCulloch – How To Fix State Of Origin Weekends

At present a lot has been said about Origin ruining Club Football weekends as we have only 4 lacklustre games played per Origin weekend and only to keep broadcasters happy though most of these games are shells of themselves.

For example Roosters vs. Bulldogs was Sonny Bill’s return to the Kennel at ANZ Stadium the Roosters lost Jennings, Pearce and Maloney and the Bulldogs lost Reynolds now the match attracted a smidge over 20,000 it was entertaining but not anywhere near as good as it could have been.

This round features Broncos vs. Sharks, Bulldogs vs. Storm, Cowboys vs. Sea Eagles and Eels vs. Panthers (average Origin weekend crowds are less than 60,000).

How fair is this to Melbourne? No Slater, Smith and Cronk take the venom out of a Cobra and all you have is a belt.

How is this fair to the Bulldogs? How many fans will turn up to what could be one of the most spiteful games of the year and without one of their best players in Josh Reynolds.

The Broncos and Sharks are stripped evenly this year while Manly will destroy the Cowboys without Scott, Tamou and Thurston.

The only fair thing to do is too suspend Club Football and play a Representative Weekend like we do with the Anzac Test and in doing so this will fix 4 major issues lack of interest in International fixtures, lack of competitive International Sides, International Eligibility, Player Poaching, Lacklustre club rounds and crowds.

On these representative weekends create a Pacific Cup featuring New Zealand, Fiji, Tonga, Cook Islands, Samoa, PNG and the Philippines and play over 4 weekends.

The first weekend would be the Anzac Test Weekend Australia play NZ while Fiji, Tonga, Cook Islands, Samoa, PNG and the Philippines play off (lowest ranked team drops out). The 2nd, 3rd and 4th weekend would see New Zealand would enter the Pacific Comp and have these matches played around State of Origin.

What a talent showcase you could have and play the matches at Eden Park, Suncorp and ANZ Stadium’s as part of a Triple Header package over the Origin Weekends. The crowd figures would easily dwarf the club rounds how many people would turn out to watch (based on eligibility) A Sonny Bill Williams led Samoa, Keiran Foran leading New Zealand, Isaac John starring for Cook Islands, John Sutton lining up for Fiji, Fui Fui Moi Moi carrying Tonga up the field or James Segeyaro leading a proud Rugby League nation of PNG.

Anyone who caught the Samoa vs. Tonga game saw it was an excellent spectacle and gave so much back to those countries not to mention the fans; it was easily more exciting than Baby Broncos vs. Baby Storm hell the haka’s are worth price of admission alone.

Giving these teams a constant International Identity instead of just existing every time a World Cup is on may inspire players to play for their home nation and not to opt for a loophole to play for NSW, QLD or New Zealand and would also give more exposure to attract sponsors to these national teams.

Every year we are treated to a one off Anzac test which sees Australia trounce New Zealand. However at the end of the year NZ play amazingly well off the back of time spent together a luxury Australia enjoys through State Of Origin.

How much pride would be on the line this cup competition it would invoke so much tribal passion it would be like The Pacific “Origin”.

Developing the World game is an absolute must as we don’t want to become like the AFL only played in one country and desperately need to challenge Rugby Union for the hearts and minds on the world stage, In giving New Zealand and other Pacific nations more chances to play one another is the only way to achieve a better International competition and boost broadcasting rights revenue.

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