Slater reveals 'risks' with touted Origin change

Slater reveals 'risks' with touted Origin change

Maroons coach Billy Slater has shut down the idea of moving State of Origin to Monday nights, claiming the “quality of the game” would be impacted by the change.

In the wake of the series opener, Peter V’landys publicly admitted he was open to switching the game’s marquee event in order to protect the integrity of the NRL.

With players sidelined for their club sides throughout the six-week period, the main competition takes a back-seat each year as Queensland and NSW square off.

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However, according to Slater, there’s one key reason why Wednesday night has worked for such a long time and why the TV ratings continue to smash records each year.

“I think it works the way it is,” he said on Nine’s Billy Slater Podcast.

Billy Slater during Maroons camp.  Getty

“The 10-day preparation allows for the quality of the game. If you reduce the preparation, you are risking reducing the quality of the performance.

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“We have seen the numbers throughout the men’s and women’s State of Origin and they are elite, they are right at the top of the tree. If you start playing with the product, you risk diminishing the product of the performances of the teams.

“That’s one thing that I have been very forward about – the quality of the product. That’s the reason why people watch State of Origin and that’s the reason why it’s held in such regard, because of the quality of the game.

“I don’t think we need to go near that.” 

Despite the hard-line stance from the Maroons coach, ARLC chairman V’landys told News Corp at the weekend that talks of a change “had some merit”.

“We’re always looking at ways to get through the Origin period that best suits fans, players and stakeholders,” he said.

“Any good ideas will be considered. This has got some merit and should be in the mix when we’re next discussing the schedule.”

Maroons legend Darren Lockyer also believes a potential switch could hinder the TV ratings and cause a financial impact.

“It’s definitely got merit from a player welfare perspective,” he said on Nine’s QLDER.

“The only thing I’m concerned about … the revenue that comes into the game has a lot to do with the broadcast viewing. If you don’t have that 10-day lead into the Origin and don’t get that rating that you need, it obviously impacts the game financially.

“There’s a balancing act here – the players and the stakeholders – so it’s an interesting debate that’s going to happen.”  

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