By STEVE MASCORD
NEXT Monday, Gold Coast are going to play Melbourne at Skilled Park. It second versus fifth, a crucial game which should draw a huge crowd.
…except, that is, for one small factor. There will be no Origin players involved.
Big Issue is confident that after this television deal, or the next, this ridiculous situation will be remedied. Let’s face it, Origin is only on during the week because interstate football was once so low key they didn’t want it to interfere with the premiership.
Now, it is so important that we stand players down from the previous round of club games – and still have it in the middle of the week! It doesn’t make sense does it ? Aside from the fact that somewhere along the way, the TV stations discovered a goldmine.
So, at some stage, the game will have enough financial clout and independence to end this split round idea, where the very organisations that pay the players – their clubs – don’t have access to them.
In the meantime, though, what do we do?
The answer may lie in the 16,118 who attended Sunday’s South Sydney-Gold Coast game at Barlow Park in Cairns. That’s more than the Titans get most weeks in Robina.
Sure, the Origin players were on deck but I’d be willing to bet their absence wouldn’t have shaved too many off the gate.
We want split round games to mean more and we want to take more games to provincial areas. Let’s solve both problems with one solution. Around Origin time, all they seem to care about in the big smoke is the interstate battles.
So let’s take our club football to the people who will still care – to places like Mudgee, Cairns and Perth.
It just seems logical.
STILL in Cairns, it was a touching story on Sunday about how Greg Inglis and Albert Kelly used to play together in the street, using a Coke bottle.
It was a timely reminder that the game we see on TV – in which Inglis and Kelly came face to face to decide a contest – is the same one the kids play.
And that’s what stiffening the rules surrounding fights is all about – reclaiming that link. What if the parents of the next Greg Inglis or Albert Kelly stopped them playing because of the Gallen-Myles fight?
That’s not really hypothetical … odds are, somewhere in Australia, it happened.
Filed for: RUGBY LEAGUE WEEK