DISCORD 2012: Edition 39

By STEVE MASCORD
BANNING Junior Kiwis from playing Origin is nowhere near enough of a measure to protect international football from NSW and Queensland recruitment raids.
All it will do in the medium to long term is discourage kids from playing for the Junior Kiwis – and we’ll get more results like last Saturday’s 48-16 win by the Junior Kangaroos.
Rugby League International Federation chairman Scott Carter is right: either the Blues and Maroons stop choosing foreigners or they should allow Origin players to represent other countries.
This is why I don’t like the Independent Commission being so closely linked to Australia, with John Grant reading out the Test team. What is good for rugby league is often not what’s good for Australia – and I’d rather the commission do what’s good for rugby league.
It would be great for the game if the umbilical cord connecting Origin to the Australian team was cut. If you qualify for Origin, you are selected and your country of election is a completely different issue. What a wonderful gesture to rugby league that would be.
And another great gesture would be to pay all NRL players who represent in a full Test the same money – whether it’s for Fiji, Australia or the United States. The impact of this on players’ enthusiasm for the international game would be profound. As of a couple of months ago, we can afford it.
But neither of those things will happen because they are not in the interests of Australia. It’s a real shame.
.
ONE thing we should have mentioned last week: If Canterbury’s James Graham did walk off the field on grand final night to tell his coach and chief executive he definitely did not bite Billy Slater, why was it kept secret for four days?
What on earth would be the motivation for not getting it “out there” that the player vehemently denied committing the offence?
When St George Illawarra’s Matt Prior took Johnathan Thurston’s head off in May, the Dragons could not put him in front of cameras and microphones quickly enough. Their PR, Jo Banning, even chased reporters around Dairy Farmers Stadium to make sure they had the quotes.
Sure, the judiciary members aren’t supposed to be influenced by publicity.
But they would have walked into the Graham hearing without anyone having even suggested to them that the England forward didn’t do it. That can’t have helped.
.
I’D love to tell you that Bangkok is buzzing with excitement over the Test on Sunday but the fact is I’ve not yet interacted with any rugby league people in my couple of days here.
I am told the Philippines boys arrived yesterday and there’s a big launch for the match on Friday. In case you missed the news, the Thailand-Philippines match is now on Sunday at the Royal Thai Police Stadium, at 7pm Sydney time.
Referees are Gavin and Kasey Badger, understood to be the first husband and wife officiating team in the history of world sport. Their little milestone has even attracted the attention of the British national press.
read on

4 Comments

  1. Dear Steve
    I agree with you 100% … Earlier this year the kiwi RL boss floated the idea of a kiwi origin game with Auckland vs the rest ( known as Homelands). .. The teams were fabulous and with SBW coming back next year , 2013 would be the best year to start that ..
    I think people overstate the importance of Origin football .. If NSW ever win 7 in a row then the concept would be dead . After this crop of players for qld , there will actually be a dearth of players … Lets see what happens then
    Dr Paul aka dr pankaj Rao

  2. Hi Steve,
    I agree completely. I have a solution that would be great for standalone rep weekends.
    Friday: NZ Origin
    4am AEST Saturday: International Origin & Euro Cup Triple Header
    Sunday: Pacific Cup Double Header plus Pacific/ Polynesian Family Festival
    Monday: State of Origin
    The winners of the Euro (Fra, Wal, Ire, Sco) &
    Pacific Cup (Png, Fiji, Sam, Ton) Qualify to play in The 5 Nations Tournament (Aus, NZ,
    Eng, PAC 1, Eur 1) in October. What do you think?

  3. Hi Steve, agree 100% on your view for international footy. The one chess piece that the NRL has that the AFL is envious of is international football. Yet for some reason we either ignore it or even destabilize it. WTF?! Geez I hope someone would make a pitch to the commission to change the eligibility for SOO. Let’s set the policy: ‘either the Blues and Maroons stop choosing foreigners or they should allow Origin players to represent other countries’. Easy. Aus could field 3 sides. we need NZ, Fiji, Britain and France to be strong. Money and policy will help solve this.

  4. Who are all these “foreigners” playing origin? Perhaps Steve would care to name a few, to help us understand what he is on about. While on one hand Steve appears to be disapproving of the selection of “foreigners” for origin via these alleged “recruitment raids”, he on the other hand is suggesting that origin should be opened up for more “foreigners” to participate. I’m struggling to see how an origin stacked with these “foreigners” is going to be a good thing for Oz league. But perhaps it would be good for world league, or maybe NZ league? It should also be pointed out that Scott Carter is chairman of NZRL. So we have to ponder the sheer hypocrisy of his statements (or should that be whining) with the knowledge that NZRL have recently made Tongan born Hurrell sign a letter of intent to play for the Kiwis, even though he was not yet even eligible to play via the residency rule. So much for the good of world league? It should also be pointed out that the pull of origin is grossly exaggerated by Steve and his like. It certainly wasn’t enough to prevent Oz born and raised players Cayless, Pritchard, Hoffman, Beale, to name just a few, from electing to play for NZ. I’ve no doubt money is an issue, but it is not a problem special to league. Would Kaino have played for Samoa rather than the ABs if he could earn the same money? I don’t think so. With these issues of eligibility and money league needs to stop acting as if these problems were somehow unique to league. In the end, why not just let the players decide for themselves? These new rules being proposed to restrict eligibility are silly, and serve only to highlight the ignorant and backward nature of the code.

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