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36 hours ago
At the conclusion of tonight's Origin match, which will bring down the
curtain on yet another outstanding series, there is one message fans
expect, and deserve, from the ARL Chairman when he presentation to the
captain of the victorious team.
He may congratulate the winners, commiserate with the losers, thank the sponsors and so on.
But the one message we are all waiting to hear is simple - that from 2013 all origin matches will be played in the two "origin' states only.
Is that really asking too much?
This season we have had one game in Sydney, and one in Melbourne, and the decider in Brisbane.
The Victorian Government wants to "buy" one game each year - just as long it is not game three in case the series has already been decided!
And there are reports Auckland and Perth want to "buy" a game as well.
There is one way to put an end to the degrading of our most valued product - keep Origin where it belongs.....in the Origin states.
It was never intended to be shopped around to the highest bidder - yet that is what may well happen.
State of Origin is the most watched sporting event - bigger than the AFL and NRL grand finals, bigger than the Melbourne Cup.
Surely its greatest strength is not just its longevity......but the fact that interest has never been higher than it is today.
The best way to keep it that way is to preserve the "integrity" of the Origin series.......with one game in each state a year, and the third game alternating between them.
And it must not just be about money alone.
The biggest "money" contribution Origin will make is the "value" it adds to the next five year broadcasting rights agreement.
And that needs to be many times the million dollars or so Victoria wants to "buy" an origin game a year with.
The current television agreement hopelessly undervalues Origin.
The ARLC needs to gets its full value through the rights negotiations.
Hawking it around for a million here and a million there devalues a great asset.
And playing Queensland v New South Wales origin games in another state is akin to running the Melbourne Cup at Randwick or Eagle Farm.
Well almost akin to doing so!
The Melbourne Cup will always be run in Melbourne.
State of Origin needs to be always played in New South Wales and Queensland.