The AFL Players Association are leading a push to return State of Origin footy as soon as next year, it was reported today. It’s been said many proposals are being considered.
As a long-time advocate of returning Origin footy, I’ve spent a fair bit of time working on a solution to this very problem.
The issue is there are so many legitimate constraints.
You can’t go down the “All Stars” path or it’ll flop, you can’t exclude Tasmania and the like because they won’t like it, you can’t make it too long or it won’t work, you can’t have it too often or players will grow tired of it … it isn’t easy.
But a system of promotion and relegation makes it possible to juggle all these factors and give the AFL a near-perfect answer. Here’s how it works:
The table speaks for itself. Victoria almost always will go up against either Western Australia or South Australia, which is the way to go commercially, but the smaller states in terms of football power are in no way excluded.
In fact, if they’re good enough they can rise up and win the whole thing.
Still, there are going to be doubters. “There were reasons why Origin died,” they will tell you.
My response is those reasons aren’t nearly as relevant today. When WA and SA became one-team states stocked with home-grown talent, Origin lost plenty of meaning. But today, support is divided in those states and expansion means even more home-grown talent will have to head interstate.
There was also the issue of Origin overkill, thanks to the event being held too often. By simply not holding the event every year, this concern is easily addressed.
The players today revealed they wanted Origin back.
So, too, did the fans. At the time of writing, 90.33% of respondents to a Superfooty poll said the AFL should bring back State of Origin.
Come on, AFL. It’s time.
Michael DiFabrizio is a journalism student at the University of Wollongong. As an AFL writer, he has been an expert columnist at The Roar since 2009 and has appeared in The Age and on ABC television and radio.