Origin at Wembley: Steve Roach sees big picture

Blocker says Wembley Stadium in London would be an awesome venue for a State of Origin match. Picture: GETTY IMAGES

Blocker says Wembley Stadium in London would be an awesome venue for a State of Origin match. Picture: GETTY IMAGES

I'm probably in the minority here, but I reckon taking a State of Origin game to Wembley in the United Kingdom would be absolutely sensational.

I can't think of one reason why you wouldn't consider taking a game there.

How good would it be?

Origin is our best product and it is awesome the NRL is to take a match back to the MCG in both 2015 and 2018.

Melburnians will go to the opening of an envelope and they won't be afraid to throw their support behind Origin again.

Sometimes we can be so insular in this sport we only want to serve our own agendas. It's dotted throughout the history of rugby league.

But we have to look at expanding the game into new markets and using Origin as the primary tool is a no-brainer.

It's our most watched sport played by our best players and at an intensity which provides gripping viewing - no matter what your sporting preference.

I heard some AFL commentators waxing lyrical about game one last week, pretty much reigniting the debate whether there's a place for interstate rivalry in that game.

That shows Origin is bigger than just a game now - it's an event.

Ratings outside traditional rugby league markets are fantastic and maybe we should be rewarding some of those fans outside of NSW and Queensland.

It's a huge money-spinner now and having an Origin at a jam-packed Wembley - in perfect summer weather over in the UK outside of the Premier League season - could give a huge shot in the arm to international rugby league.

It's certainly some food for thought.

I know I harped on about Origin fatiguelast week, but after watching the NRL over the weekend I'm even more convinced we can't keep playing it in its current format.

I've never seen a bunch of players more exhausted than those in the NSW sheds after game one and we expect them to somehow back up on ridiculous two and three-day turnarounds.

What we're doing is shaving potentially years off our game's elite - your Smiths, Thurstons and Slaters - because of the toll the schedule is taking on their bodies. Smith looked like he was just functioning on auto pilot in a wholehearted effort during the Storm's big loss to the Cowboys in Townsville.

We're always preaching about player welfare, how about we start applying it to Origin with our most valuable assets - our top players.

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