New Zealand Warriors CEO Jim Doyle believes that a Kiwi version of State of Origin could work out well, and draw in large crowds and television audiences.
Doyle’s idea is based on the rivalry between people from Auckland, the game’s ‘capital city’ in New Zealand, and people from outside Auckland.
“For me personally, the biggest driver of State of Origin is the parochialism between NSW and Queensland,” Doyle told reporters in New Zealand.
“If it was to be done from a Kiwi perspective, you’d want to create some level of significant rivalry.
“The natural one to do is North Island versus South Island, but unfortunately there isn’t enough talent in the south.
“To draw the line somewhere else doesn’t make sense, you’d just be making it up.
“But for me, most people outside Auckland don’t like Aucklanders. It’s a traditional scenario, Aucklanders are called Jafas, it’s like ‘you’re just another Aucklander’.
“That would create that rivalry. You would have a high percentage of players who have come through Auckland, but then you’ve got all the others against them, whether you’re north or south of Auckland.
“If you’re not from Auckland, you’re against them. That would generate two very good teams.”
“One game to start off with would be very positive, Origin over here has a huge following,” he said.
“If you are looking at Kiwis and Pacific Islanders, you’ve got 34 NRL stars all playing against each other.
“[It remains to be seen if] it ever become similar to State of Origin where you are selling out stadiums and millions watching on TV – but it would certainly be a very good product for people who follow rugby league and rugby union to come along and watch the game.
“You take Kieran Foran, Issac Luke, Shaun Johnston, Roger Tuivasa-Sheck … that would generate a lot of excitement.”