State of Origin belongs to Australian football. Interstate Australian rules football games have been played since 1879. Games were played under State of Origin rules from 1977 to 1999 and since 1990, chosen mostly from the Australian Football League (AFL).
Passion for these games were unrivalled, particularly between Victoria and South Australia, but also with Western Australia and Tasmania. These games would regularly sell out at Football Park in Adelaide and also in WA. They produced many of our game's memorable moments. In 1989 a crowd of 91,960 people attended a game at the Melbourne Cricket Ground between Victoria, featuring greats of the game such as Gary Ablett, Tony Lockett, Jason Dunstall and Terry Daniher, and South Australia, featuring Andrew Jarman, Stephen Kernahan and Craig Bradley.
Pursuing a national club competition, the Australian Football League decided representative football was not in its interests and deliberately downplayed the importance of state of origin games once it gained control of our game nationally. This has resulted in it declining relative to Origin games in rugby league. There were an increasing number of withdrawals by AFL players, who were under increasing pressure from their clubs, concerned by the risk of injuries. The final death knell was when "Mr Football" EJ Whitten died. Since 2000, all matches have been between teams representing the second-tier state or terriorial leagues. A token charity event each year at the Telstra Dome featuring has-been footballers is simply not good enough.
Now that the AFL has ballsed up the International Rules Series against Ireland (which was in itself Gaelic football posing as an almost farcical "compromise" of our great game), our elite players will be starved representation and reconition. We need it for our game to be truly national. In recent polls, players and fans alike have voted almost unanimously for the return of the series !
State of Origin gives players greater opportunity for lucrative endorsements and helps market their clubs. It gives states with underperforming AFL teams the opportunity to still achieve a level of success in our sport.
The AFL may be a national competition, but we want to see Barry Hall and Jonathan Brown pull on the Big V and play side by side. We want to see the best players in the country on the big stage, the ultimate spectacle.
Furthermore, we want every state represented. The "Allies" concept is a farce that helped take the passion out of the series and reduces it to exhibition match status. More than ever before, NSW/ACT and Queensland are competitive enough to contest against the likes of Tasmania. A two division format would be sufficient withe the following rough qualified rankings.
* South Australia
* Western Australia
* QLD / NT
* NSW / ACT
The AFL should begin with State of Origin in 2008 to celebrate interstate football's place as part of the 150 years of Australian Football and make it an annual series.
We, the undersigned, call on the Australian Football League to bring back State of Origin football. We are passionate about State of Origin and want to allow all Australian states to compete in our national sport.
The Bring back State of Origin petition to Australian Football League was written by Tasmanian Devil and is in the category Football at GoPetition.