The success of the Origin game in Perth has to be built upon. We’ve taken games to Melbourne in the past, and obviously Adelaide next year, so to me that makes perfect sense to play our game in the best stadiums in Australia.
It’s a fairer system with Queensland and New South Wales each hosting one game, and the other in a neutral venue.
What I would like to see is playing the two home games first up so that Game Three – most likely the decider - is at that independent ground.
If the Maroons or Blues are good enough to go up 2-0 then that’s great. But in the event it is 1-1 what a fantastic result for our game to take the series away from the traditional states of NSW and QLD and get people elsewhere talking about our game?
Over in Perth it’s seen as AFL strong-hold but I can tell you there was plenty of talk about rugby league and Origin all week in the build-up to Origin II.
We are already taking the NRL on the road with games in Darwin and Adelaide this weekend.
Match Highlights: Maroons v Blues
The Eels have made a commitment there for the past six years and because of that there has been the new TIO Stadium built there. So the people of Darwin benefit from the NRL going there and the game of rugby league gets a chance to grow more in the Northern Territory.
It’s about spreading the game and giving people options. We did it this year with NRL Magic Round in bringing all the teams into one location at Suncorp Stadium.
So there needs a spirit of co-operation among all the NRL clubs in what they do to play in different venues, to help propagate the game.
I’d like to see it move off our shores as I believe there’s opportunities to take NRL games to the Pacific Islands. And I’m not talking about in years to come but next year or the season after.
I know the stadium if good enough in Suva, Fiji; it’s also good enough in Apia, Samoa. We need to start taking our first grade games there.
Tonga’s international program is really starting to blossom so the more games we get in those regions, the better. It’s a great opportunity for us to strengthen our game further in the Pacific, especially off the back of the rep weekend last week.
I don’t know the last time Samoa played a representative game in Apia but there’s a quality stadium there. We’ve got to start getting countries involved in helping our game because city councils are doing it really well – we’ve taken games to Campbelltown, Tamworth, Mudgee.
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I still think we can go further and take NRL games to the Pacific. The countries there are not much further than the flight to New Zealand, so it’s not a big burden, and we get the governments of those countries involved in our game.
Tonga can now think about improving there facilities at their capital Nukuʻalofa to enable them to host games – internationals or NRL games. Nothing should spur them on more than seeing the Prime Minister’s XIII and the Jillaroos playing in Fiji in October.
So we can still shore-up the game internally in Australia but we can think afar and expand it overseas relatively easily.
Then the RLIF World Nines in October at Bankwest Stadium is going to bring international exposure. This is a good concept to expand out game around the globe as well.