Every year I watch with awe, and a certain amount of envy, as the Aussies host their 3 match state of origin series.. NSW v Queensland.. 'State against State...Mate against Mate'. Its a fantastic spectacle, promoting the Aussie game and their players domestically (and now, a few years down the line) to a world wide audience. All the NRL sides buy into it because they understand that ultimately they gain from the 'ripples' that such a series generates - it enhances the profile of their game immensely.
Every time I watch my team, St.Helens, take on a team from Yorkshire, opposition fans proudly sing not just their team songs, but chant their county. The Lancashire v Yorkshire.. Red Rose v White Rose is an ingrained rivalry with historic significance, arguably, with far more fervor than the NSW Queensland rivalry.
I note the increasing trend for the Aussies to pick off our elite players for the NRL - this is a huge risk for the Super League - without the likes of Tomkins, Graham, Burgess(s), Hock, Roby(?) our game is a much weaker product. Perhaps a 3 game 'County of Origin' series, where the players are paid a decent chunk out of gate receipts, may just stem the flow.
Accepting it may take a few seasons for it to really take off, perhaps with the imminent revamp of our structure, is the time now right to take a risk on a domestic 'origin' series ?