Off the Wall

You would think the ARL CEO, Geoff Carr, had enough on his hands this week - given his dual role as NSWRL CEO.

But no, he is in the media today floating the idea that Origin matches might be played on a regular basis in New Zealand.

This is an outrageous proposal that is driven totally by dollars and not by the best interests of the game. The sooner we get an independent commission to run the game transparently and in its best interest the better!

Already there is concern about a loss of interest in Origin in Sydney.

Can you imagine the damage playing an Origin game in Auckland rather than in Sydney, or Brisbane,  would do to Origin rugby league? It would be considerable - and it is impossible to see any upside.

Under current rules Kiwi born players cannot participate in Origin, so why take the game showpiece event to New Zealand?

The answer is simple - dollars!

Full marks to NZ league and stadium officials for trying, but the idea of playing Origin matches outside Brisbane and Sydney just for dollars needs to be jettisoned once and for all.

The argument that it boosts the game when it is played outside the two states is nonsense. It has been played in Melbourne and there is no evidence it has had any impact on Storm home game attendances.

There is another reason why the idea should go no further.

The integrity of State of Origin is dependent on it being a competition that affords both states an equal opportunity...and that means an equal home ground advantage.

And an equal home ground advantage requires two games in Sydney one year and two in Brisbane the next year on a rotational basis.

It also requires maximum publicity, player appearances etc in Sydney and Brisbane to ensure Origin remains a community event