As far as winter ball sports in Australia go, the AFL has the wood over the NRL in every single measurable metric, apart from one: State Of Origin. The Rugby League State of Origin is Australia’s greatest sporting rivalry, bar none. It kicks the piss out of anything the AFL could ever dream of offering. I love seeing Collingwood and Richmond fans biffing on in the stands of the MCG as much as the next goose, but two entire states entirely disowning each for a month-long period in the dead of winter cannot be beaten. So it is with the utmost footy-minded enthusiasm that I inform you all that the AFL, in a rare moment of clear-headed genius, is reportedly considering bringing their version of State of Origin back in a bid to raise funds for bushfire relief. Hell fucken yes.
Last night the Herald Sun reported that league officials are looking at a raft of options to bolster bushfire response efforts, and that the most likely option among them is a State of Origin or All-Star representative game, which could be held as soon as late February.
The AFL itself confirmed that a game between a side representing Victoria and a combined “All-Stars” side consisting of the cream of the remaining states is on the cards, with February 28th at Marvel Stadium looming as the likely time and date.
Several AFL stars have already expressed their keenness on social media, including Patrick Dangerfield and Phil Davis.
Yesss let’s make it happen! https://t.co/CP6KVmfYGj
— Patrick Dangerfield (@dangerfield35) January 7, 2020
Let’s do it???????? https://t.co/fuZ9fBraaD
— Phil Davis (@phildavis_1) January 7, 2020
Bring it back ???? https://t.co/X0z4p8cOnj
— Scott Pendlebury (@SP_10) January 7, 2020
— Nic Naitanui (@NicNat) January 7, 2020
— Max Gawn (@gawndog37) January 7, 2020
The State of Origin concept formally ended in 1999, however a similar one-off Victoria vs All-Stars game was held in 2008.
Early discussions between the league and clubs are reportedly positive, and will ramp up once all teams return to pre-season training following the Christmas break.
Victoria vs All-Stars is all well and good, but give me Victoria vs South Australia again already you absolute cowards. Send 30,000 rabid Adelaidians across the border heaving “KICK A VIC” out of their lungs. And while we’re at it, put Buddy Franklin back in a Sandgropers jumper and coax Matthew Richardson out of retirement to don the mighty Map of Tasmania.
STATE OF ORIGIN FOOTY. MATE VS MATE. STATE VS STATE.Image: Getty Images