Do we really need to keep the City v Country concept alive? Isn’t it time we put this game to bed? What purpose does it serve? It never was and never will be a real State of Origin trial. You only have to look at past Man of the Match performances like Anthony Minicello several years ago to realise this game is not a bona fide State of Origin Trial. The attrition rate from players pulling out of the match only reinforces my contention that even the players don’t take the game seriously. Do you really think that players like Mitchell Pearce and Robbie Farah would’ve pulled out of this weeks game if it was a NRL club game? They know they’re in the NSW team. In fact, I would say that 90% of the players would already know if they’re likely to be chosen for NSW. I’m positive someone would’ve tapped them on the shoulder and said “don’t risk getting injured in this meaningless game. You’re in the Blues team anyway…”
So why do we keep this concept alive? Is it TV ratings? Tradition? Recognition of fringe Origin players? It used to be an opportunity for the bushies to show their wares on the big stage. As a fan, I’ll watch it only because it’s a game of footy. Personally, I would suggest we modify the concept somewhat and turn this game into a NSW “NextGen” type of game. Pick the best of the under 20’s, NSW cup and NRL players who won’t be in consideration for the current Blues team but may be in years to come. This is our chance to showcase our future origin stars under representative conditions. This would show some initiative that even QLD haven’t come up with yet. We would be blooding our future stars in a mini origin trial. The game has almost turned into this type of concept anyway. Perhaps keep an age limit of, say, 25. Split the teams into geographical segments eg Northern Division v South?
I’d be a lot more interested in seeing the young superstars of the future playing against each other than watching a patched up meaningless concept promoted as an Origin trial.