Origin deserves better than Melbourne

Written By Unknown on Senin, 02 Juni 2014 | 23.40

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CAREFUL please. That's our baby you've just handed to the neighbours for a quick, cold cuddle.

That, essentially, is what giving an Origin game to Melbourne is like.

Melbourne folk will rock our baby, smile for some photos and say how nice he looks. Then they will gladly hand him back, swiftly get back to the game that matters for them (AFL) and won't give our boy a millisecond of deeper thought.

State of Origin rugby back at the MCG in 2015. Queenslands Cameron Smith and Billy Slater and NSW's Ryan Hoffman with Victorian premier Denis Napthine after todays launch at the MCG today. Pic: Michael Klein. Source: News Corp Australia

Origin deserves more than that. News that Melbourne will host a State of Origin game next year is another worrying sign that the game's administrators are losing touch with the people who matter most — the fans.


First came the soaring ticket prices, so dear that even some former Origin players could not afford them.

Now the first game of the next series has been taken away from Sydney and given to Melbourne, whose fans traditionally embrace State of Origin like 20-year-olds at a KISS concert — they sense that there's a fair bit happening but haven't grown up with the songs and don't really connect.

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Yes, yes we know all about the arguments claiming the game must spread its boundaries.

Sorry to kill the myth, but rugby league, much as we love it, is what it is — a game with a narrow, clearly defined support base. It's been around for 100 years and barely grown in that time. It's not suddenly going to take over the world.


The MCG will attract a monster crowd, but it is a poor rugby league ground — you are literally watching a square peg in a round hole from a long way away.

By all means should the NRL look for ways to promote the game in Melbourne, but the Anzac Day Test against New Zealand would have been a better option.

Cameron Smith gives the 'G a little of what it can expect next year. Source: News Corp Australia

There are tens of thousands of New Zealanders who live in Melbourne and luxuriate in all things Kiwi — they would come out and cheer the sight of a bubbling mudpool if you could put one on at the MCG.

Given the narrow boundaries of AFL football, just having an international game in Melbourne is novelty enough to ensure a decent crowd.


Melbourne got Origins when they needed them most, when officials were trying to convince the state government to open its purse strings for a new ground.

But that mission has been accomplished. The Storm is now based at a plush new stadium.

Origin deserves to be played in front of crowds that appreciate it the most.

What do you think of the decision to take Origin to the MCG in 2015?

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