Former Wigan and Manly coach Graham Lowe has outlined how he sees a New Zealand-based ‘State of Origin’ type series would work.
Lowe is, so far, the only non-Australian to have coached a State of Origin team, guiding the Queensland side of 1991 to a series win, before losing the 1992 series.
He thinks that the range and depth of talent in New Zealand means that the Shakey Isles are ready for their own Origin concept, based on their heritage.
“But we wouldn’t call it Origin; we’d call it Kiwi Roots, which means which the heritage you value most. Wouldn’t that put a sting in the tail?
“Played during the State of Origin window I can see two teams playing a game at Mt Smart Stadium that would be every bit the contest Origin footy is.
“The players can decide where there their roots are from, whether they be the Pacific Islands or New Zealand.
“Let’s throw out for a start; those of New Zealand heritage are better players that those of Pacific heritage or vis a versa. Wouldn’t that cause some debate.
“It could be billed around the question of which heritage is the best, the strongest and importantly, who is good enough to represent New Zealand.
“A big percentage of the players would find themselves eligible for either team and so what. It doesn’t matter, it’s their choice.
“But one thing is for certain, it’s a formula that could last the test of time and it is uniquely Kiwi.”
Lowe feels that the talent in New Zealand needs more opportunities to shine on the big stage.
“On Saturday I went to Walker Park in the suburbs of Auckland and watched Pt Chevalier playing against Otahuhu,” he added.
“There is certainly talent running around in that particular premier grade competition good enough for any NRL club.
“In fact I’ve watched a number of games this year in the Auckland competitions and the depth of talent, given the right opportunities, is unbelievable.
“And it is opportunities that unearth the bolters. Roots would deliver a pathway for all Kiwi players where ever they may be playing.”