It’s time to go…

By Daniel Andruczyk

Queensland have won an unprecedented 5 straight Origin series, but what does this mean for the whole concept? Yes, yes, I know that I have been calling for Origin to be abolished in its current form for a while now. But this post is one with a twist on this theme. How you may ask, well its simple the age old rugby league attitude to teams that keep winning series upon series upon series. With QLD having won five series in a row now and looks like it may get 6 and 7 even will the age old Rugby League attitude kick in towards State of Origin?

If you ask ‘Rugby League fans’ in Australia why they don’t support of follow International Rugby League the way they used to, the answer always comes back “Oh Internationals are just not competitive, Australia always wins everything”. Well we have seen in the last 5 years or so that that is no necessarily the case, New Zealand having won a Nations and the World Cup, yet still the International Game does not get the respect it deserves.

The Ashes

The Ashes brings up some great images of battles in the past. The great British teams of the Early 70’s, the Invincibles in the early 80’s and the tight tussles of the 90’s. Anyone that remembers these will remember packed stadiums of 60 and 70 thousand… the glory days. But somewhere, something went wrong, yes sure Great Britain lost many of the last series, but they were close series , most being 2-1 and many where the Lions won the first match. The last 5 years only the last one did Australia win 3-0, the rest like in the State of Origin were 2-1.

1982 Great Britain 0-3 Australia
1984 Australia 3-0 Great Britain
1986 Great Britain 0-3 Australia
1988 Australia 2-1 Great Britain
1990 Great Britain 1-2 Australia
1992 Australia 2-1 Great Britain
1994 Great Britain 1-2 Australia
2001 Great Britain 1-2 Australia
2003 Great Britain 0-3 Australia

What’s more interesting that over the 85 years that the Ashes have been played they are unbelievably close. Of the 39 Series played Australia has won 20 (51.3%) and Great Britain 19 (48.7%), pretty close, just as close as what State of Origin is. I dare say that if we had some more tours since 2003 we may have seen Great Britain win a series or two, who knows. So with things this close why were the Ashes and Internationals frowned upon?

Five in a Row

Last year Origin history was made by Queensland when they won an unprecedented 4 Origin Series in a row, and this year they continued to make that history by winning a fifth straight series (this is not taking 1980 an 1981 into account).

2005 New South Wales 3-0 Queensland
2006 New South Wales 1-2 Queensland
2007 New South Wales 1-2 Queensland
2008 New South Wales 1-2 Queensland
2009 New South Wales 1-2 Queensland
2010 New South Wales 0-2 (so far) Queensland

The problem as I see it is that it looks like this dominance will not be abating anytime soon. So is Queensland and State of Origin in danger of becoming like the “Kangaroos and the Ashes”? Will we see crowds getting diminishing in State of Origin because of it getting boring due to Queensland’s dominance? It will be interesting to see if the same attitudes of international rugby league will be applied here.

But I bet they won’t, I don’t understand, when did the state rivalry become bigger than the battles with the poms and Kiwis? These have always been the big rivals and I used to come out in droves to watch these teams, even the French used to pull crowds in excess of 30,000. But if not, if we are not going to be sick of Queensland winning all the time why is it that we don’t care so much about beating our traditional overseas rivals?

Back to Internationals?

But lets assume that we do “get bored” and get rid of Origin then what do we replace it with? Well how about getting a Trans Pacific Quad-series going? Australia, New Zealand Papua New Guinea and Fiji/Tonga/Samoa/Cook Islands and another tri series with the countries that aren’t in the quad series? We can then swap these around on a year to year basis. How about getting all the players that can represent countries involved, let get all these matches televised and promoted the way SoO has been, lets build up the game such that we get to see on the highest stage players the absolute best players and there is no reason we can’t bring in local players from the domestic competition in those countries either.

However we know that State of Origin will not diminish, but I make a call to all Rugby League fans to also start supporting International Rugby League on all its stages. Rugby league is not just the NRL or ESL or SoO, its about every single country their competition and internationals, the future of the sport is there, everyone need to work together, build the strong foundations internationally and the sport will survive for ever.

Daniel Andruczyk’s email:
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