In theory the highest quality Rugby League match in the world is on tonight being the State of Origin clash between NSW and Queensland, but tomorrow night at the MCG, Australia play a friendly with Greece. One of them counts for something, the other supposedly counts for nothing. Which one is more important?
This Rugby League fixture has been in place for 26 years. There's been tradition set in place as well as all the love that might be akin to what an Arab has for a Jew. Red vs Blue and all that. Considering that it's on the Wednesday, and the football friendly against Greece is on the Thursday, I wonder which will capture the public's imagination more.
Rugby League is for the most part only played in Sydney and environs and Brisbane and environs. Outback NSW is Rugby territory and outback Queensland is AFL country. The other states and territories do get Rugby League on TV but it's in the 11pm slot. Arguably the 80,000 or so tickets at the G were far harder to come by, so I think football wins out.
Both sports are plagued with off-field problems. Football has long carried the stigma of violence in Ethnia, whilst Rugby League is suffering misconduct from its players resorting to thuggery in normal life.
The jewel that is held out in the football world is the World Cup, an event far larger than the Olympic Games. Australia for the first time in 32 years has qualified and I suspect that this will galvanise the nation. A Rugby League world cup manages to rustle together about 4 countries who can actually play the game; to be honest they just look pathetic.
The real test is when matches are held overseas. People will stay up and watch footbal even from other national leagues at 2 and 3 in the morning but would they do that if the Kangaroos played overseas? Most definately no.
Rugby is a thug's game played by Gentlemen.
Football is a Gentleman's game played by thugs.
Rugby League is a thug's game played and watched by thugs.
It's so easy to rubbish a rubbish game when everything about it is rubbish.