#NRL180: The Rep Weekend — Did it Work? Plus Rep Takeaways by @ItsMitchell180

by @ItsMitchell180

Australia vs New Zealand
I admit I feared for this weekend after #Kearnius selected his team for the Trans-Tasman test. I thought it was Australia in a rout, and while the Aussies still won the Kiwis proved what international rugby league is all about: pride and passion.
Kearney’s selections paid off better than I thought, and the forwards battle was great. But ultimately the class of the Aussie backline once again was the deciding factor.
City v Country

I don’t know if the much maligned City v Country match changed anyone’s mind about the game but I don’t care; the game has a definite place in the calendar, but when should be the discussion point, which I’ll discuss below.

The game gave Laurie Daley some selection headaches, with Idris off the NSW bench and Jarrod Mullen emerging as a legitimate five-eight option…

Oh, and somehow City scored three late tries to somehow snatch a 26-all draw. My good ‘friend’ Mitch 2 @niles1991 is quick to bag the Blues at any chance he gets…

niles bastard

…. but to flip that analogy, no NSW team lost. So there.

Under 20s Origin
Speaking of NSW not losing, the Under 20’s Blues smashed those Queenslanders. There was some good attack on display, and rookie Jake Mamo showed us that he could be anything. We should be seeing a lot of him for the Knights this season.

Sadly, the game will be remembered for a remark I wont repeat and a few biffs, but NSW winning again will cause that next generation of Queensland players — largely from those Queensland strongholds of the Pacific Islands and Country NSW — to continue the hatred of the First State for another generation.

Fiji v Samoa

These two nations delivered on what Tonga and Samoa gave us last year i.e. exciting footy and a little bit of biff in what was probably a selection trial for Queensland (just kidding… but not really). While the game was bagged by one journo in particular, I do honestly hope he watched the game to see what it meant to the players and to the crowd — and I especially hope he took note of how it rated better than the Waratahs game.

And this game DOES mean something. It puts Samoa in the Four Nations and they got there with some entertaining, enterprising footy. Those players who pulled on that Jersey and the fans that turned up certainly gave more than a hoot about the result.

The Rep Weekend — Did it Work?

Footy-wise no-one can argue it was a success: it was entertaining as hell and every team (except for the Queensland Under 20s ;P) stood up.

But the schedule? Well, it was a dog’s breakfast. A couple of adjustments are needed, because the Channel 9 deal has this weekend locked in for the next three years — so like Ray Hadley once said, you can either like it or lump it and me, I’m gonna like it.

The schedule in my perfect world would involve the City-Country game being moved to the pre-season, followed by:

Saturday

Game 1: NSW Cup

Game 2: NSW v QLD Residents

Game 3: Pacific Island test match 1

Sunday

Game 1:  Pacific Island test match 2

Game 2: Australia v New Zealand. Mitch 2 (@niles1991) does have a good idea here. Let’s say goodbye to the night game and have “twilight” international footy. This would become a double header replete with cheap tickets and would take place not on a bloody cold night to assist with attendances.

I saw a tweet about an NZ “Origin” match which sounded like a decent idea: something along the lines of players eligible for New Zealand who were born there vesus New Zealanders born in Australia. If we want or need a game in New Zealand we could play that on either Saturday or Sunday and the time difference would fit into schedule easily.

As you can see, there would be nothing on Friday night, but I think rugby league can survive one Friday night off during the year especially with a jam-packed Saturday and Sunday that would make up for it.

The game either goes all in with the rep weekend or keeps the status quo of a solitary pacific islands match and a delayed city versus country game that doesn’t rate.

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