Fittler backs Bennett's month of Origin idea
NSW coach Brad Fittler has backed Wayne Bennett's proposal to turn the month of June into a stand alone State of Origin period.
While Fittler is not a fan of the short seven-day turnaround to allow for a Sunday night scheduling for game two, he believes three consecutive games with 10-day turnarounds is worth the NRL considering in the future.
"The reason the games are always high quality is because all the blokes are normally fit, because they've got 10 days," Fittler said.
"They've got the luxury of numerous physios, they have pretty good budgets, so everyone gets looked after. I was interested in Wayne's comments - about making it a month all about Origin, in maybe June.
"So that you get the big breaks between. It's a better way. Wayne was saying you dedicate a month to Origin. It made sense, to make the Origin period shorter, but keeping the time between games a 10-day preparation."
It came on the back of comments from Bennett over the weekend, who first floated the idea of consecutive Origin games.
"Origin should be the month of June and the flavour of the month then we all get on with the competition,'' he said.
"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."
It raises the question of how it could work? What do the NRL teams do for a month? Where does the international game fit into that?
NRL.com has taken the nucleus of Bennett's idea and created a potential June festival of footy, which includes three State of Origin games, a Nines tournament, Test matches and a women's State of Origin match.
The NRL could not shut down the NRL for a month to play three Origin games because you need to provide the two host broadcasters with content.
A Nines tournament, which could be played in four different locations around the country during the pool stages, will allow the governing body to grow the game in different markets. You could then have the top two teams playing in the Nines finals in Brisbane a week later.
There may be some reluctance from clubs to play their best players but it could also provide clubs with an opportunity to blood some young talent as they look to finalise their rosters by June 30.
The Tonga-New Zealand fixture, which created great interest during last year's World Cup, needs to be a regular fixture on the calendar and would be a huge financial boost for the struggling New Zealand Rugby League in Auckland.
The views in this article do not necessarily express the opinions of the NRL, ARLC, NRL clubs or state associations.
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