Rugby league: State of Origin to restart the season if NRL gets green light

Blues coach Brad Fittler and Blake Ferguson celebrate after winning game three of the 2019 State of Origin series. Picture: GETTY IMAGES

For years, State of Origin has been referred to as the jewel in rugby league’s thorny old crown. Given the truckloads of revenue it delivers, you can understand why.

Now, in these uncertain times, it’s the Hope Diamond.

NSW and Queensland players loom as lab rats as the game ramps up plans to play in a bubble or on an island or whatever in the wake of the COVID-19 crisis.

The NRL’s newly formed “innovation committee” reckons the Origin series can demonstrate to governments, pandemic experts, broadcasters, fans and the wider community that it can safely play rugby league in isolation.

If successful, if it can show that it can lock down 40 players and staff at a venue such as Townsville’s brand new stadium, the NRL will then look at mobilising all 16 teams.

This is at the forefront of the committee’s contingency plans should the NRL be allowed to start again. The questions are whether it can — and whether it should.

These are difficult times as we struggle without the essentials such as toilet paper, hand sanitiser, after-work schooners and, of course, footy.

Disappointingly, the narrative chosen by some has become bitter and accusatory when the reality is the situation everyone faces couldn’t be more complex.

If the NRL wants to broadcast its very own version of The Truman Show, and the players want it, and the government will allow it, and the pandemic and biosecurity experts say it’s safe and the risk of spreading the virus is negligible, then there is no reason why it shouldn’t happen.


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