The Courier Mail.
THE ARL Commission is set to condense the State of Origin period into a shorter, more intense format in 2014 amid concerns from NRL clubs the lengthy nature of this year’s series created too great a flat spot for teams and fans.
The quality of football and interest in the NRL flagged considerably this year during another epic Origin series, with Melbourne Storm coach Craig Bellamy amongst those leading calls for the scheduling of the three-match contest to be reconsidered.
The NRL draw for 2014 is expected to be released at the end of the month – four weeks after the AFL announced theirs – and the State of Origin schedule is understood to be one of the biggest talking points between the game’s major shareholders including all 16 clubs, TV broadcaster the Nine Network and the game’s governing body.
With the spotlight on Origin, the NRL competition takes a backseat during the interstate series and at no time was that more evident than during this year’s seven-week stretch, which impacted upon eight rounds – almost a third of the season’s 26 rounds.
NRL boss David Smith flagged major changes to the scheduling of the Origin series in a Twitter exchange on Monday.
Hosting questions under the hashtag enAskDaveNRL, Smith fielded a number of queries from fans including one keen to point out the ‘8 week deadspot’ in the NRL competition when State of Origin is played.
To which Smith replied: “appreciate your views, an area we are concerned about too. We are looking closely at this for 2014.”