Internationals The need for a Pacific Origin series

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Play The Ball

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Play The Ball submitted a new Article:

The need for a Pacific Origin series

No-one has quite figured out what it is about State of Origin that makes it work – it just does.

Not only do footy fans from NSW and Queensland act parochial to a sickening level during the middle of each year but the fever has caught on around the remaining Australian states, New Zealand, the Pacific Islands and further afield. The Origin concept works for whatever reason but much of it has to do with the battle lines – there is a natural rivalry before a ball is kicked in anger.

Much discussion has been made around the idea of New Zealand holding our version of the interstate rivalry – North v South, Auckland v the Rest etc. There could be some merit in those types of games but I don’t think they could invoke the same passion and competitiveness that makes Origin what it is. The way to draw out that passion is by setting the game up based on national pride and to include the Pacific Islands in the mix, where the game is taking off.

The answer is to stage a New Zealand v the Pacific Islands test series. I touched on this idea a couple of days ago but to explain again I would stage a game in New Zealand, a game in Australia and a game in a Pacific Island country each year. The venues could rotate each season but the huge Pacific fan base across all three countries would get a first-hand taste of the action each year.

The Kiwis would be at full-strength and the revenue generated from the series would be significantly more than what is garnered from the one-off ANZAC Test each year. League fans in New Zealand would have a three-test series in the middle of the season. That means media and fans alike talking about selection, form, strategy all during a time of the year when the international game barely gets a headline. Sponsorship would be worth a lot more, as would television rights and on the field the Kiwi players would play ever more footy alongside each other, enhancing combinations. It could help take the sport to the next level in this country.

A combined Pacific Islands side – utilising the best talent from Papua New Guinea, Fiji, Samoa, Tonga and the Cook Islands would match up fairly well against a Kiwi side. These nations play with such passion that it wouldn’t be hard to match that of the interstate clash. Many of the Pacific players would have played with the Kiwi players before and so the whole mate against mate concept could be at play in this clash. The fact that a gam of such magnitude could be staged in the islands would have huge...
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matiunz

matiunz

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I may be wrong but don't the individual pacific Islands not really get along?
I seem to remember this being part of the reason why the combined team didn't work out in rugby-too many factions within the team.
Another issue they had was it reduced the amount of players being exposed to top level by combining the teams.

The recent pacific test seem to be doing a pretty good job of channeling the passion and Samoa did a pretty good job by themselves taking on the "big boys".

I'm all for raising the profile of the islands but would rather an NZ origin not be based on ethnicity rather something like Auckland vs the rest.
 
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Play The Ball

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Auckland v the rest won't draw wider interest from outside NZ like a Pacific team would. It is about finding something for the TV networks to use on potential stand alone Origin weekends. I can't imagine any of those island nations being offered this - the big time - and not taking it because they have to share it. Its pretty basic, take this big cake or have the crumbs at the end of the year if you're lucky...
 
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mt.wellington

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The reason why State of Origin works is because the two states hate each other. Its as simple as that.

You have something along those lines with anything we do against the Aussies such as the ANZAC or Bledisloe Tests, the Aussies have it with the English such as the Ashes, The Yanks and the Canadians in Ice Hockey but SoO is on another level in terms of hate...
 
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Selector

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New Zealand does not need its own version of State of Origin. Trying to manufacture some sort of rivalry between the two possible means the concept is flawed from the beginning and doomed to fail.

And this idea that having a combined Pacific Island team will not succeed its a concept that's already been tried in rugby union and failed.
 
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