I have here a credible format in which AFL State of Origin games could be played if it were to be re-introduced. One that would incorporate all 6 Australian states, and that could also bring in a 7th team perhaps Indigenous or Northern Territory related.
The first year of its re-introduction (lets say 2013) would look something like this –
State of Origin Final – VIC vs SA at MCG
State of Origin Qualifier – WA vs TAS at Patersons Stadium
State of Origin Preliminary Qualifier – NSW vs QLD at ANZ Stadium
All games to be played on the same weekend (preferably a bye in the Home and Away season)
Now let’s simulate the results so that the home teams all win; that being VIC, WA, and NSW. This would result in VIC being State of Origin Champions for 2013, and would mean that they defend their title the following year (2014); WA would be State of Origin Qualifiers and would take on VIC the following year (2014); and NSW would be Preliminary Qualifiers and would be promoted to the State of Origin Qualifier the following year (2014) to take on the 2013 Runners-Up SA. This leaves TAS demoted to the State of Origin Preliminary Qualifier the following year (2014) and NSW would miss out in favour of the “7th” team which could be either an NT based or Indigenous based team to be introduced the following year (2014). That would make the 2014 line up look something like this –
State of Origin Final – VIC vs WA at MCG
State of Origin Qualifier – SA vs NSW at AAMI Stadium
State of Origin Preliminary Qualifier – TAS vs NT/Indigenous at Aurora Stadium
The winner of the State of Origin Final is crowned State of Origin Champions for 2014 and would defend their title the following year in the 2015 State of Origin Final. The Runner-Up would play off in the 2015 State of Origin Qualifier against the 2014 State of Origin Preliminary Qualifier winner. The 2014 State of Origin Qualifier winner will take on the reigning Champions in the 2015 State of Origin Final. While the 2014 State of Origin Qualifier loser is relegated to the 2015 State of Origin Preliminary Qualifier to play against NSW who will be re-introduced in place of the 2014 State of Origin Preliminary Qualifier losing team.
So once you can get an idea of how this format works it really comes down to this. On one weekend out of each year, the AFL Home and Away season has a break for State of Origin Weekend where six states are involved in three matches. If you’re a supporter of a particular state that isn’t involved that weekend then that state will be involved the following year. In other words, every state is involved within 2 years, and every year there is a different challenger for the State of Origin title.
Now, we know that the birth place of Australian Rules Football is Victoria, so it makes sense for that state to host the first State of Origin Final of the re-introduction. And we know that South Australia have historically been the biggest challengers to the Big V, and WA haven’t been too far behind. So SA get first crack at the champs and WA get best positioned for the next crack. The other four states (including NT) could raffle the remaining spots in the format.
It could also be argued that the lesser ranked states – QLD, NSW, TAS, NT – probably don’t pose much threat to the big 3 – VIC, SA, WA – within the first decade or 2 of the re-introduction of State of Origin competition. But in time they will. This format gives all those lesser ranked states the chance to prove themselves within the Qualifying matches over a period of time and then perhaps eventually challenge for the title in the future. But in the mean time, the fact that there are 2 State of Origin matches in which the title isn’t decided means that 4 states get to play off in matches that would give their fans a year or so worth of bragging rights! And quite often that’s enough to satisfy most football fans.
In closing, the AFL has been pushing hard for Australian Rules Football to be truly national for about 30 years or more now, and in my opinion, the biggest push they can make is a successful re-introduction of State of Origin Football that incorporates “all” states including the NT (the ACT will just have to jump on board with NSW). And in an effort to minimise disruption to the regular AFL season, this is best achieved within the space of one weekend only. That is what this format offers. One weekend where all states are involved except one (that state getting involved the following year, of course). Aussie Rules Football fans aren’t interested in seeing their states merged with others to form some sort of “Allies” team or “All Stars” team like they have in the past. And if fans in Queensland or NSW think its a bit unfair that they have to start at the bottom, just imagine when eventually your state becomes “dual” State of Origin Champions in both the NRL and AFL. And it will happen! It’s just a matter of time.
I hope this message gets across to true Aussie Rules fans across the country and gets people talking. I have no desire to copyright the idea. I just want to see successful State of Origin football again that’s fair and works and doesn’t take up too much of the regular AFL seasons time. I will endeavour to repost this message to all appropriate outlets in an effort to get this idea launched as soon as possible. Hopefully even next year!
Yours truly – T-roy of Port Douglas, Queensland
By: Troy Rice