State of Origin rugby league is on the verge of a new frontier with suggestions that games could be taken to New Zealand in the coming years. Why stop there? The juggernaut that is Origin football should be taken to Perth and Adelaide and yes even the United Kingdom!
Detractors can argue until they’re blue (or maroon) in the face. But the simple fact is the State of Origin has outgrown its spiritual homes in the eastern states. It has become more than a game. It has become a brand. A money making extravaganza that has become must see TV.
Victoria Major Events’ contract with Origin expires this year with pressure mounting on the Queensland Government to provide financial incentives to keep two games every second year at Suncorp Stadium. If the government doesn’t heed the warning, more games could be lost to Melbourne. Or better yet, Perth or New Zealand.
QRL chief executive Rob Moore knows the situation.
“It brings into the equation the position of our State Government” Moore said last week.
“None of that sort of money (put up by Victoria) has been provided by our government”.
“They haven’t needed to, and I’m not suggesting they will have to throw massive amounts to keep the game here. But for the first time they may have to look at some incentives.”
But they will have to thrown massive amounts. State of Origin doesn’t owe the Queensland government. If anything, it’s the other way around.
Moore also spoke about the QRL’s plans for Origin 2012.
“It would be something similar to the Hong Kong Sevens” Moore said.
“The plan is to make Origin more than a game of footy, and obviously there would be great spin-offs for the economy”.
There have been talks going back to 2009 between the National Rugby League and then Auckland Mayor John Banks about the possibility of Origin being played at Eden Park.
“I am absolutely committed to bringing State of Origin to Auckland” Banks told New Zealand’s Sunday News at the time.
“The Eden Park people are very keen to maximise the use of the new ground and I’ve always felt that the best place to play rugby league tests and an opportunity for hosting State of Origin would be at Eden Park.”
“These international fixtures with global television audiences are not cheap and to take Origin from Sydney, Brisbane or Melbourne and bring it to Auckland would cost a lot of money”.
Note the word international. State of Origin is more than just two states playing a game of footy. It is a monster and everyone wants a slice. If there is a thirst for Origin footy and the price is right, we must look at it.
This article was originally posted on FootySocial.com.au