JavaScript disabled. Please enable JavaScript to use My News, My Clippings, My Comments and user settings.

If you have trouble accessing our login form below, you can go to our login page.

If you have trouble accessing our login form below, you can go to our login page.

Stand-alone Origins the way ahead

Set of Six

NSW fullback Jarryd Hayne was one of several Origin stars unable to back up for their clubs last weekend.

NSW fullback Jarryd Hayne was one of several Origin stars unable to back up for their clubs last weekend. Photo: Getty Images

State Of Origin scheduling

The players involved in last Wednesday's State Of Origin, who have been vocal in their support for stand-alone Origin weekends, deserve deep consideration of their opinions. We need to get serious as we look at ways to minimise player burnout and reduce the number of NRL fixtures being crucified by having Origin players missing or backing up quickly from an Origin fixture. Our next television deal must address this critical issue.  However, while I strongly support a reduction in NRL rounds to 22 and the elimination of byes to allow for three additional stand-alone weekends in the future for Origin, I feel those pushing for these weekends to be back-to-back-to-back have not thought through all the ramifications. The current three-week gap between games enables each match to have a suitable build-up and wind down to maximise publicity, attendance and television ratings. A three-week suspension of the competition may work for the 34 players in Origin but would be anything but advantageous for the other 250-odd NRL players who wouldn't be playing during this period, not to mention the momentum the NRL competition would lose if shut down for three weeks.  Stand-alone Origin weekends are the right way to go for the future but I think we need to keep the three-week gap between matches for the good of the game.

Cowboys' big test

The Cowboys have impressed many winning four of their past five matches, however, if they are going to be serious premiership contenders they need to start winning away from home. This season they have lost all five games played away from Townsville. They have scored more than 12 points only once in those five away games.  So this Friday night when they travel to Parramatta we should learn plenty about the 2014 Cowboys. They will face an Eels side that has won all five matches this season at Parramatta and, in doing so, has scored more than 30 points in four of those five wins. Last season the Cowboys won five matches away from home and snuck into the bottom half of the eight, with one of those wins being at Parramatta, their first win at that venue since 2006. I think it is fair to claim that if the Cowboys don't win this Friday night they will struggle to make the top four and would then face having to win four successive sudden-death finals matches away from Townsville to win the competition –a highly improbable task.  This Friday night could well define the season for the Cowboys.

Captain Courageous

There were many stories of great courage coming out of State Of Origin I, in particular that displayed by the Morris brothers. However, it is hard to go past what we saw from Queensland captain Cameron Smith over the 72 hours from Wednesday to Saturday.  Playing a full 80 minutes and making 49 tackles in the middle of the ruck in one of the most brutal Origin matches in memory, Smith suffered a high ankle sprain but continued to play through the pain as he has done so many times before. Medical experts predicted he would be out of action for up to three weeks but Cameron Smith not only turned up in Townsville on Saturday night ready to play, he stayed on the field for the full 80 minutes again and made 53 tackles, as the Storm were defeated by the Cowboys.  He would have known that with Cooper Cronk and Billy Slater already ruled out the Storm were unlikely to beat the Cowboys but he still insisted on taking his place in the team and doing what he could to lead the Storm to victory. In professional sport the word ''champion'' is used far too often and in many cases inappropriately. In Smith's case, however, he has earned the right to wear that tag, and be rated one of the game’s greatest players.

Josh Mansour is a great story

The Panthers club was delighted this week when popular winger and clubman Josh Mansour agreed to a two-year extension of his contract, until the end of the 2016 season. Mansour's climb to prominence in the NRL has been a wonderful story and a lesson for all aspiring NRL footballers that hard work and perseverance will be rewarded in the end. Mansour came to Panthers in 2012 looking for opportunity. His initial salary was meagre at best. Yet he trained like a man who had been a highly paid professional all his life. He made his debut for the Panthers in round 9, 2012, against the Melbourne Storm and has been an integral part of Ivan Cleary’s top squad ever since, playing 37 NRL games and scoring 20 tries. Mansour had to give serious consideration to tempting offers from rival clubs, however, he has placed family and happiness over all else when making his final decision. I see good things ahead for this young man and the Panthers club is proud to call him one of its own.

Jim Doyle

I am extremely disappointed Jim Doyle has this week announced he will soon be vacating his position at the NRL. I regard this as a huge loss to the game. My disappointment is tempered somewhat by the news he is taking up the position as CEO of the New Zealand Warriors. It is great he will still be involved in league and his recruitment by the Warriors is a great move by that club. Mark my words, Doyle will be the making of the Warriors. In his time with the NRL, he has been outstanding and has already made a great contribution to the game. I just wished he was hanging around long enough to implement some of the plans he has been working on for the past year. Doyle carried no baggage from the game’s past and he was a fresh set of eyes on the major issues affecting the game. He will be hard to replace.

Eight is enough - this is our time

Much will be written in the next couple of weeks as we build up to State Of Origin II here in Sydney. NSW fans should not get too far ahead of themselves despite the team’s magnificent victory in the series opener. There is a long way to go before we get our hands on the winners' shield and I’m sure the Maroons won’t be giving up their title without one hell of a fight. We also have to get through another weekend of club football with Origin hopefuls being subjected to the risk of injury before team selections can be finalised. However, all going well, I believe this time the Blues will get it right. I liked what I saw in game one. I always felt as though NSW had their opponents covered and despite the closeness of the finish I believe there was a sense of dominance about the victory. If the Blues can just build on what they learned from the first match and apply the same level of courage and commitment to their performance on home soil, I am confident they will be winning Origin II to seal a series win.

Phil Gould is general manager of football at the Penrith Panthers 

18 comments so far

  • It's a double-edge sword "SOO scheduling".
    -If Wednesday is the biggest TV-Rating for SOO, than the TV-Networks have the right to call the shots on some level. (Players can't have it both ways, big salaries if there not willing to cater to TV Broadcasters requests). Either way,comprimises have to be made
    NRL has a $1 billion dollar TV-deal let's not forget that.
    -But players also have rights! Player welfare, if many injuries happen, does the advertising SOO generate for the NRL and TV-Ratings adequately cover the loss suffered in tv-ratings,crowds for nrl clubs and the broadcasters tv ratings. SOO is a cash cow, no debate. But the old saying kill the goose that lays the golden egg. SOO if it ends up killing the nrl-product is not a good thing long term. AFL ditched it's state of origin format, for better or worse. They do have a bigger TV deal than the NRL. But AFL crowds have been down this year.
    -Another way to help other players etc make some money during a stand alone SOO series, would be to have some other rep-formats.
    - NZ VS Pacific Island All stars XIII at Eden Park Auckland/ or Mt Smart or North Harbour stadium would be good.
    -Have it on the opening weekend as a pre-game to SOO. NZ time is 2-hours ahead of OZ. Have it 6pm OZ time before SOO at 8.20pm. Play 1 game NZ V Pacific All stars side, not a 3-game series unless demand is there.
    Maybe have NZ VS Rest of the world or exiles side, which is all players from other countries, pacific islands and Europe. But somehow include NZ at least 1 of the week's of a proposed stand alone state of origin.

    Commenter
    Alan
    Location
    Sydney
    Date and time
    June 04, 2014, 12:45AM
    • Alan

      I sent a similar idea to the NRL a few weeks ago. Mine was slightly different in that game 1 of Origin was Wed night as per now with half teams receiving byes before and after game but for game 2 make it a weekend game and also have say Samoa v Fiji and NZ v England on same weekend. Then game 3 would be on Wed same as now but again preceded and followed by byes from half the teams. Reply from NRL was that they thought it was good idea but they are contractually locked into current format until 2017 so no changes before then.

      I think the idea of matching Origin games with other internationals is gaining aceptance from a few people so if enough people suggest it then NRL will have to listen.

      Commenter
      Ben
      Location
      Sydney
      Date and time
      June 04, 2014, 4:04PM
    • I say split a NRL round over 3 weekends with SOO played on Sundays. The 8 games in a round will be split 3 games with SOO1, 3 games with SOO2 and finally 2 games with SOO3. This could be back to back weekends or slot a full NRL round in between. For example :

      SOO week 1:
      SOO1 on Sunday
      3 NRL games on Friday/Saturday

      SOO week 2:
      Full NRL round

      SOO week 3:
      SOO2 on Sunday
      3 NRL games on Friday/Saturday

      SOO week 4:
      Full NRL round

      SOO week 5:
      SOO3 on Sunday
      2 NRL games on Friday/Saturday

      SOO week 6:
      Full NRL round

      This guarantees at least one game each day of the weekend and gives each team their 2 byes

      Commenter
      Rok57a
      Date and time
      June 04, 2014, 8:42PM
  • Going 3-weeks straight may not be the answer for SOO. It's so physical and tough. Think Wallabies V British and Irish Lions 3-test series. 3-weeks straight. There were quite a few injuries in game 1 and 2, by game 3 brand new starting sides. Maybe play as Gus said have it broken up over a few weeks it would reduce the injury rate.
    Another way could be limited nrl games over the 3-weeks, plenty of byes. So maybe only 2 or 3 nrl games on SOO rounds. But something's gotta change at the next TV deal coz the current SOO format is not working.

    Commenter
    Ken
    Location
    Sydney
    Date and time
    June 04, 2014, 1:04AM
    • Finally some sense from the players themselves. I have proposed exactly this for the past 5 years. Have a proper 3 week rep round. NZ vs England 3 test series, SOO, Pacific Nations Cup. Run the Junior or U20s for each respective team as curtain raisers. Revive International League, preserve and maintain SOO and the integrity of the NRL clubs.
      NZ and England can grow their rivalry. Aus keeps it's SOO, the Pacific Nations get a run mid season and more games to further their development and competitiveness. It could be accommodated by absorbing the current standalone League weekend dropping a preseason NRL game and dumping the All Stars game. Add an indigenous team into the Pacific Nations tournament.. The All Stars will be better served playing for their respective countries and boosting the game at large.. WIN WIN WIN. You could add a one off Test between the Kangaroos and the winner of NZ vs England test series at the end of each respective series. That way SOO is as intended (a selection series for international honors ) and the Kiwis and England arrive battle hardened... who could forget their bruising encounter in the Semi final of the RLWC..

      Commenter
      CJW
      Location
      Milton Qld.
      Date and time
      June 04, 2014, 3:03AM
      • Whatever you do with Origin games DON"T stop the NRL comp.Rugby Union in it's wisdom stops its Super 15 comp for some "tests"in June then restarts after a few weeks.While not a Union fan a couple of my friends are and they HATE the break as it leads to a loss of interest in Super games and takes time to reignite spirit etc when comp restarts.
        One idea worth a look could be a third "origin" side made up of players in the NRL who cant play for the Blues or Maroons.This would help interest from all other countries including Great Britain which would help promote the game hugely and my god it would be a good side (players like Burgess's,Graham,Pritchard,SBW,Matalino,Shaun J,Hurrell etc etc).Call the team the "outsiders" or "outcasts"Believe me the fans would get behind them and the players picked would love to rip into the two Origin sides!

        Commenter
        Jacko
        Location
        NZ
        Date and time
        June 04, 2014, 6:36AM
        • If Channel 9 agreed (and I don't think they would) move SOO to Monday night after a round of NRL excluding players selected for Origin. This would allow a minimum 5 days for players to backup for Friday night. Three weeks between each game should be enough to cater for injuries & suspensions to get the best teams on the field.

          The downside for me as a fan is I enjoy midweek football but then I grew up with it on Channel 10 with the Amco/KB/Panasonic Cups. In a perfect world I'd bring it back but I can't see anyone actually involved in NRL these days supporting this idea.

          Commenter
          bear54
          Location
          The Outback
          Date and time
          June 04, 2014, 6:46AM
          • If this idea is adopted, the next complaint will be that players that aren't involved in Origin get an advantage from a two week break. They will then think up some ludicrous idea about making those players play some other type of game.

            These people come up with some brilliant plan and then two years down the track start complaining about it.

            Commenter
            The Next One
            Location
            Sydney
            Date and time
            June 04, 2014, 7:09AM
            • Origin must move to Mon or Sun or Saturday night. Its so huge it has its own gravity and will pull us all along.

              Because the NRL season becomes a farce during these split rounds.

              Commenter
              turbodewd
              Location
              Canberra
              Date and time
              June 04, 2014, 8:05AM
              • The win by NSW in the first SOO was certainly commendable and well deserved but no mention has been made of the fact that had Thurston's usually reliable boot not failed him the game could well have been locked up at full time and who knows what would have happened then !

                Commenter
                Mun
                Location
                Toowoomba
                Date and time
                June 04, 2014, 8:20AM

                More comments

                Make a comment

                You are logged in as [Logout]

                All information entered below may be published.

                Error: Please enter your screen name.

                Error: Your Screen Name must be less than 255 characters.

                Error: Your Location must be less than 255 characters.

                Error: Please enter your comment.

                Error: Your Message must be less than 300 words.

                Post to

                You need to have read and accepted the Conditions of Use.

                Thank you

                Your comment has been submitted for approval.

                Comments are moderated and are generally published if they are on-topic and not abusive.

                Four Nations 2014

                Round 1
                Sat, 25 OctTimes shown AEDT
                ENG 32 vs SAM 26 Stats
                AUS 12 vs NEWZ 30 Stats
                View All Fixtures
                Round 2
                Sat, 01 NovTimes shown AEDT
                NEWZ vs SAM 14:00Toll Stadium
                Sun, 02 NovTimes shown AEDT
                AUS vs ENG 16:00AAMI Park, Melbourne
                View All Fixtures
                Round 3
                Sat, 08 NovTimes shown AEDT
                NEWZ vs ENG 17:30Forsyth Barr Stadium
                Sun, 09 NovTimes shown AEDT
                AUS vs SAM 16:00WIN
                View All Fixtures
                Four Nations 2014
                Overall standings
                Team P W L D +/- Pts
                New Zealand 1 1 0 0 18 0
                England 1 1 0 0 6 0
                Samoa 1 0 1 0 -6 0
                Australia 1 0 1 0 -18 0
                View all
                 
                Win an iPad mini by entering our Sport survey
                Featured advertisers