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…
…. but to flip that analogy, no NSW team lost. So there.
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
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:
Game 1: NSW Cup
Game 2: NSW v QLD Residents
Game 3: Pacific Island test match 1
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.