Opinion

We need AFL State of Origin

by
July 25, 2017

Tyler Maher is another person in favour of a State of Origin match to be played during the bye weekend before the AFL grand final, with Benalla product Tom Rockliff included in his Victorian side. Picture: AAP

I have always been obsessed with fantasy sports.

From about the age of eight I can remember sifting through piles of notes and statistic sheets before the football season started in order to compile the perfect team for various online competitions.

As the years ticked by I branched out (unsuccessfully) into soccer, cricket, gridiron and even baseball at one point.

With a huge appetite for consuming sport from the time I knew what a ball was, but little avenue to stay connected 24/7 in those early days, pouring over numbers, trends, injury lists and my own observations allowed me to remain submerged in the sporting landscape for as long as my heart desired.

The yearning to put myself in the driver’s seat of my own professional sporting team has not dimmed during the years and avid Musings fans would have noticed the large number of hypothetical or prediction-based articles finding their way onto the page this season.

For those who have enjoyed them, you are in luck, because I’m about to sit in the oracle’s chair once more.

Cast your minds back to earlier in the year, where I first floated the idea of an AFL-X Cup.

While fanciful at the time, there is now a real possibility at least a few exhibition matches will be played in the bye weekend before finals with players from teams which miss out.

For me, this is completely ridiculous.

If we are going to have a standalone exhibition, at least give the people what they want: State of Origin.

The AFL-X concept will take a while to grow on fans of the game, but Origin is an easy hit.

It would be standing room only at the MCG if the Big V took on the Allies in an AFL and AFLW (as first floated by Fox Sports duo Anna Harrington and Sarah Olle on June 7) match.

Obviously, stars on finals-bound teams would be out of contention, but when you assess the lists of the other 10 sides you can still put together a match which would be of the highest quality.

I’m going to draw from the ladder how it stands, with this top eight very likely to remain how it is and the origin of each player will be where they were drafted from (according to footywire.com).

While plenty of worthy names miss out, here are my teams for the showcase event.

The Victorians are completely jam-packed with midfield talent, while what the Allies lose in height they make up for with pure excitement.

With youth a key selection factor as well, these representative sides would draw any and all members of the football community to the game for what would be an amazing spectacle.

It would also have much more purpose than a makeshift AFL-X exhibition.

My tip is the Big V would take the chocolates, but it would be almost too close to call.

THE TEAMS

VICTORIA

B: Sam Docherty, Liam Jones, Dylan Roberton.

HB: Kade Simpson, Jake Carlisle, Luke Hodge.

C: Marc Murphy, Tom Rockliff, Marcus Bontempelli.

HF: Jamie Elliot, Ben Brown, Tom Lynch.

F: Tim Membrey, Jarryd Roughead, Shaun Higgins.

R: Matthew Kruezer, Gary Ablett, Scott Pendlebury.

I/C: Stefan Martin, Andrew Gaff, Sam Mitchell, Steele Sidebottom.

ALLIES

B: Shannon Hurn, Steven May, Easton Wood.

HB: Jeremy Howe, Matthew Suckling, Elliot Yeo.

C: Dayne Beams, Dayne Zorko, Jason Johannisen.

HF: Lachie Neale, Eric Hipwood, Shaun Burgoyne.

F: Nick Riewoldt, Josh Kennedy, Cyril Rioli.

R: Brodie Grundy, Tom Mitchell, Nat Fyfe.

I/C: Matt Priddis, Bryce Gibbs, Michael Walters, Alex Fasolo.

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