Ten-day turnarounds for Origin: Bennett
The NRL's most experienced coach Wayne Bennett not only endorsed Origin II's Sunday night time-slot but called for the entire series to be restricted to June with 10-day turnarounds between each match.
The second interstate clash will take place next Sunday at ANZ Stadium in Sydney with game three back to a Wednesday at Suncorp Stadium on July 11.
That leaves 18 days between matches one and two, and 17 days between two and three.
The Broncos mentor, who coached Queensland 22 times in separate stints from 1986-2003, said he liked the mix of Wednesday and Sunday clashes but would take it further to make Origin a June tournament "so we can get on with the competition".
"I love it," Bennett said of the first weekend Origin clash since 2001 when all three games were played on Sunday nights.
"I think it's great. It's the way it should be. Origin should be the month of June and the flavour of the month then we all get on with the competition.
"There is an opportunity to do that, with a 10-day turnaround, but that would involve playing on Sundays and Wednesday nights; it's a good mix.
"I think playing in Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane is a great idea too."
Origin has been played on every night of the week except for Saturday since the first clash, a one-off as the third match of the 1980 series (the first two were played on residential grounds).
All games were played in Tuesday nights until 1989, and Wednesday has been the main recipe since.
Under a 10-day turnaround system, players would back up the weekend after each match, or miss a month of football, but it would reduce the interruption to the Telstra Premiership which traditionally has a lull in crowd figures and interest.
And a change in the schedule would condense the situation where the media spotlight is taken away from the NRL over the course of the Origin series.
On the eve of the Broncos' clash with Cronulla at Southern Cross Group Stadium on Saturday night, Bennett shot down a report he had been approached by Parramatta as a possible replacement for Brad Arthur next season if the Eels' dreadful form continued.
Bennett said succinctly: "It just gets crazier; I've got nothing to add to it. I don't know anything about it."
Asked if anyone at the Eels had had any level of approach to him, he replied: "No." And would he be open to an approach? "Well I'm here next year. No, I'm not open to that."
On team news, the Broncos may play Sam Tagataese against his former club instead of Kotoni Staggs.
The veteran Samoan international, chosen in jersey No.18, trained strongly with the team on Friday and Bennett said he was undecided on the make-up of his bench.
Bennett, who has been driving the point that his side has to stay focused for the entire 80 minutes against the experienced Sharks, also applauded his captain Darius Boyd's decision to step down from representative football on his own terms.
"Darius has put himself in control of his own life which I think is important," Bennett said.
"He's not sitting around waiting to see if he's in or out or in between or whatever happened in the first game."