Rugby League Players Association Reaffirms Policy On Stand-Alone Origin Games
The National Rugby League players' union Sunday "reiterated its concerns over the scheduling of State of Origin games" and said that it would be interested in reopening talks with the NRL over a better way forward, according to Brent Read of THE AUSTRALIAN. Amid "a clamour of criticism over the state of the game, and the impact of Origin on the players and the NRL competition," Rugby League Players Association CEO David Garnsey said that the union's position had not changed -- stand-alone Origin games remained the preference. Garnsey said, "The only way to properly safeguard the welfare of our elite players, allow for adequate recovery, prevent burnout and prolong their careers is to have stand-alone State of Origin matches." Despite the RLPA's ongoing concern, change "seems highly unlikely." The NRL "is locked into a billion-dollar broadcasting deal with the Nine Network and Fox Sports, which guarantees the broadcasters 26 rounds in the regular season and midweek Origin games." Any change "would require the existing contracts to be renegotiated, a dangerous prospect for the game given its position has been severely weakened by falling ratings and dwindling interest" (THE AUSTRALIAN, 7/15).