Monday Buzz: State of Origin switch huge boost for NRL
The best thing about the resumption of the NRL on May 28 is that State of Origin will not ruin six weeks of the premiership like it has in previous seasons.
The competition won't be second rate from the beginning of June until the middle of July.
The superstars of the game won't be in camp with the NSW or Queensland Origin teams or below their best in having to back up from a brutal midweek game.
Some players get burnt out and are affected by an Origin campaign for the remainder of the season.
Even the best sport science can't get them back to playing the football they produced to make the Origin sides in the first place.
It affects the integrity of the competition. We have split rounds, understrength teams and crappy football.
Look at teams like the Brisbane Broncos, Newcastle Knights and St George Illawarra, who together supplied 15 Origin players (five each) last year. The Dragons and Knights bombed out of finals contention and the Broncos scraped in.
Compare those three to the Parramatta Eels. They had an uninterrupted run because they only supplied one player, winger Blake Ferguson, and finished fifth on the ladder.
So this year, lower-placed teams the Wests Tigers, Canterbury Bulldogs and New Zealand Warriors lose the advantage of being virtually at full strength for the whole season, not that it has been overly helpful to them.
This year we will have 34 of the best players on board for the entire competition.
It means the standard of football week in, week out will be better.
There will be more desperation this year because of the shortened season.
Two points are more valuable over 17 or 20 rounds than over 24.
The pressure to win is far greater because the finals will arrive a month sooner.
Those who are saying the Sydney Roosters are giving too much of a head start didn't count on the fact they will have the world's best player, James Tedesco, every week.
The same goes for their champion second-rower and captain Boyd Cordner and edge forward Angus Crichton. They will not only be available for selection each week, they will be fresher.
Watch out for when the bookmakers release their first markets for the competition restart. Having Origin players available all season will have a huge bearing on the odds.
Teams like Melbourne Storm that supplied six players last year (the most of any club) will have their smoothest campaigns in years.
The undefeated Broncos will be well backed knowing their barnstorming strike forwards David Fifita and Payne Haas will be on deck each week, barring injuries.
The same with Dessie Hasler and his Manly Sea Eagles. They will get to keep Tom Trbojevic, Daly Cherry-Evans and Jake Trbojevic for every week of their campaign.
There is no question that State of Origin is the showpiece event on the rugby league calendar. They are usually the highest-rating three shows on Australian television.
The transfer to October after the grand final will be interesting.
If the TV ratings and crowds hold up - and there's no reason why they shouldn't - a permanent move needs to be considered.
The standard of football we are going to see from May 28 for every week of the season might be the proof of that
Originally published as Revealed: State of Origin switch huge boost for NRL