Debate: Is it time for Yorkshire v Lancashire to come back?
Jerry Thomas (JT): State of Origin once again delivered another fantastic spectacle for the world of Rugby League on Wednesday, with another superb occasion once again proving it is the pinnacle of our game. With the Exiles game sailing off into the sunset, it’s now time to bring back County of Origin in England, and replicate the success that the Australians have with their superb concept.
Aaron Bower (AB): Unfortunately, there was a reason this particular concept was retired in England back in 2003. Certain things in life – and sport – cannot be repeated or imitated, and State of Origin is one of them. It’s such a remarkable concept that it is almost completely unique to itself, and trying to piece together a Yorkshire v Lancashire game would be a waste of everyone’s time, sadly.
JT: How do you know if you don’t try? With no mid-season game anymore there is a perfect window of opportunity to roll out the concept once again. It is an idea that will capture the public’s imagination for sure, and there is nothing really like it at top level sport anywhere in the United Kingdom. You can see the passion between Yorkshire and Lancashire folk over which county is better, and if it was promoted right, it could be a real success.
AB: The reason there is no mid-season game anymore (or at least the reason we’re benefitting from not having one) is because of the congested fixture calendar. Adding in games like this for no real reason is exactly why our players are exhausted when it comes to competing on an international front at the end of the season. The mid-season training camp Steve McNamara held recently was perfect, there was no game, just an opportunity for the England squad to meet and train together. That’s how it should stay.
JT: Rather than a mid-season camp with no game, surely the players would benefit in a game of high intensity that isn’t club Rugby League. It would act as a great precursor for an international series at the end of the year, and would give Steve McNamara a great idea over who is up to the grade for representative honours at the end of the season. We’ve seen the success of Origin, now we need to at least give it a go over here.
AB: Whilst the passion for the idea is admirable, the concept of it just seems doomed to fail, to be honest. The crowd figures when County Origin was brought back last time were pitiful, and it all felt a bit flat and timid. The players knew they couldn’t match the intensity of the Australians when it comes to Origin, and that showed with some poor standard Rugby League. Unfortunately, this is one idea that should be consigned to the imagination.
What about you? Do you think an English version of State of Origin could be trialled once again? Or is it a ridiculous idea? Get involved on Twitter by tweeting @leagueexpress.