The fake news that’s actually fake.
The State of Origin series is set for its biggest shake up in 40 years, with the Pacific All-Stars and New Zealand All-Stars to join the new Origin Championship.
The format is spearhead by the Canberra Raiders, Queensland Maroons, and Australian Kangaroos legend Mal Meninga, who believes it will solve issues with non-Australian players wanting to play Origin.
“Players of Pacific or New Zealand heritage who don’t want to commit to the Kangaroos, but still want to play Origin, can either play for the Pacific or New Zealand All-Stars, while those who do commit to the Kangaroos can play for Queensland or New South Wales as per usual,” said Meninga.
The New Zealand All-Stars are an off-shoot of the New Zealand Kiwis national side, with all NZ All-Stars records to be separate from official Test matches.
The Origin Championship will be played in a dedicated one-month block (with the NRL to be suspended during that period). There will be three weekends of round robin games, with the top two making the grand final. A State of Origin Legends game will be played as a curtain-raiser to the the Origin Championship Grand Final. There’s also talks of integrating a three-match women’s Origin series into the Championship, but that’s yet to be confirmed.
“This Origin Championship is truly going to be the best of the best. Including the vibrant Pacific areas and the New Zealanders – who truly love their league – will give Origin a new Test match-like intensity,” said NRL CEO Andrew Abdo.
Friday night: New Zealand All-Stars vs Pacific All-Stars; Saturday night: Queensland vs NSW.
Friday night: Pacific All-Stars vs NSW; Saturday night: New Zealand All-Stars vs Queensland.
Friday night: NSW vs New Zealand All-Stars; Saturday night: Queensland vs Pacific All-Stars.
Friday night: State of Origin Legends: Queensland vs NSW; Saturday night: Origin Championship Grand Final (first vs second).
The Forward Pass is a fictional and deliberately ridiculous look at the NRL. References to real people is for satirical purposes only. Check it out on Twitter @thefwdpass