DISCORD 2012: Edition 25
I THINK I've changed my mind.by NRL
I THINK I've changed my mind. I might change it back.
When the most recent spurt of interest in representative availability occurred, I was vociferously against opening up State of Origin selection to all nationalities. We already have an All Star game, right? Although there have been notable exceptions, Origin is suppose to be the domain of those eligible for Australia.
But we now find ourselves at a crossroads.
The Sam Kasiano issue highlights where we are. If we are serious about saving international football (and, you're right, it's not a given that we are), then we have to either prop up Test payments - even for NRL players representing developing nations - or we have to open up Origin.
As far as Discord can see, there is no third option.
So, which is easiest? The Billy Moore plan, to shell out Origin money any time an NRL player represents any country, is a minefield. A mid-season game for Malta against the Denmark XIII? It will be a brave administration that introduces that.
As I wrote elsewhere this week, Origin was invented as an artificial retaining wall against economic migration. It stopped people (Queensland players) representing the place they were going for money (NSW).
Queensland now has three teams in the NRL and both teams are picking their sides the way the Blues did up to 1980. So Origin is technically obsolete.
So let's completely deconstruct it and build it from the bottom for a new world, where many athletes do not feel any differently about representative teams than they do about club sides.
Readers, put the history of Origin to one side and tell us that if you were starting an interstate series from scratch in 2012, how would you decide who plays for whom?
NEXT time North Queensland concedes a try, keep an eye on the trainers.
One of them prides himself on beating the touch judges back to halfway after a goalkick. It's a race the touchies don't know they are in. Maybe now they'll take on the challenge.
On page 23 of today's League Week, I've done a story on Luke Patten and Clinton Schifcofske. The latter is in his first year as a player agent, the former is about to start a similar path.
Schifcofske wanted me, and you, to know something.
He's found a 14-year-old who, he says, is "as close as you can get to a sure thing".
His name is Kayln Ponga and is described as "Quade Cooper, Shaun Johnson and Benji Marshall all in one".
Remember where you read it first.
FEEDBACK now and Big Al said returning to Great Britain would be a big backwards step. But I am only talking about them touring every four years - at least that would give some players encouragement to stick with Wales, Ireland and Scotland in between Lions tours.
Stephen thinks the home nations will build to such an extent they will threaten England. I can't see it any time soon - because players with dual eligibility always choose England! It's a much more unhealthy situation than exists in the southern hemisphere.
Marty wants stand alone Origin weekends but that decision has already been made and it's not happening. Having said that, the RLPA aren't impressed...
Boubear put a lot of thought into the international schedule and by the sound of things John Grant agrees that international football needs to regain its pre-eminence. I think he might over-estimate the power and stability of the RLIF however. If we could have a situation where international payments are the same as top tier Test payments, that would be fantastic. It's worth pursuing.
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