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League open for State of Origin revival, training accident sidelines Roo star as Pies charge

League open for State of Origin revival, training accident sidelines Roo star as Pies charge



The AFL has given its strongest signal yet an Australian Rules State of Origin series could return in the near future, with CEO Andrew Dillon confirming the league is investigating how it could work.

While it is a staple in rugby league with NSW and Queensland in the middle of a hot streak, it has been 25 years since the last true AFL State of Origin game, which saw Victoria beat South Australia at Adelaide Oval.

However, a single Origin tribute match was played in February 2020 to raise money for that year’s Bushfire Appeal, with 51,052 watching Victoria defeat a combined All Stars team at Marvel Stadium; while the league celebrated the sport’s 150th anniversary in 2008 with a Hall of Fame Tribute match which again saw Victoria defeat a combined dream team in front of 69,294 at the MCG.

Talk has grown in recent years of reviving the series given the pre-eminence of its NRL counterpart, with more than 90,084 fans packing the MCG to watch the Blues beat the Maroons 38-18 in Game 2 on Wednesday night.

Dillon said Age that he would “even like to investigate” whether the series could work as well in the AFL as it does in rugby league.

“I would love to see the best of the best players in the men’s and women’s competition,” Dillon said.

“I would love to get feedback from our players and our clubs. It’s something I’d really like to investigate.”

AFL Origin Trophy

Nat Fyfe and Trent Cotchin ahead of the 2020 AFL State of Origin charity match. (Photo by Dylan Burns/AFL Photos via Getty Images)

However, Dillon admits the sticking point will be clubs’ reluctance to give up their best players to take part and risk injuries that could jeopardize their AFL campaigns.

“There’s something to it, but again, how it plays and when you play it — that’s all the detail,” he said.

“It’s something we should look at.”

The training accident is on Roo’s side as the Pies charge

Adelaide’s Taylor Walker and Gold Coast’s Ben King are among the spearheads to return for round 16, but Rising Star favorite George Wardlaw will miss the next two games after being knocked up in training.

Wardlaw will miss North Melbourne’s clash with the Western Bulldogs on Saturday and next week’s meeting with the Suns after picking up a knock late in Thursday’s session.

The 20-year-old midfielder was initially assessed for a shoulder injury but later reported symptoms consistent with a head knock and was placed in the AFL’s concussion protocols.

George Wardlaw

George Wardlaw. (Photo by Quinn Rooney/Getty Images)

The Bulldogs have been boosted by the return of tall forwards Aaron Naughton (knee) and Sam Darcy (suspension).

Captain Marcus Bontempelli was also named despite picking up a back injury in training earlier in the week.

King returns for Gold Coast’s crunch meeting with fourth-placed Collingwood after recovering from a knee injury.

The Magpies have loaded up on star power, with Jordan De Goey (groin), Brody Mihocek (hamstring), Scott Pendlebury (biceps), Joe Richards (leg) and Oleg Markov (back) all returning.

“This was the game we pitched him for and he ticked all the boxes,” Collingwood coach Craig McRae said of De Goey, who last played in the four-point win over Adelaide on 18 May.

Walker returns for the Crows in a vital boost ahead of Saturday’s home game against GWS.

The 34-year-old has not played since the June 1 loss to Hawthorn and is joined by ruckman Rory O’Brien and forward Elliott Himmelberg.

The Giants were boosted by the return of Stephen Coniglio from a dislocated shoulder, while quarterbacks Harry Perryman and Isaac Cumming also returned.

Brisbane Lions have named midfielder Will Ashcroft for Friday night’s home game against Melbourne in what will be his first AFL clash since tearing his ACL last July.

Fullback Jake Lever returns in what is a vital boost to the Melbourne Demons’ backline, but Christian Salem is ruled out with a knee injury.

Melbourne have handed Andy Moniz-Wakefield an AFL debut.

Fremantle has replaced injured skipper Alex Pearce (fractured arm) with first-year back Josh Draper for Saturday’s daunting task against Sydney at the SCG as Brandon Walker returns from illness.

Jacob Hopper returns from a hamstring injury for Richmond’s meeting with Carlton on Sunday but premiership star Tom Lynch (hamstring) is ruled out.

Tigers veteran Dion Prestia will miss another game with a calf problem.

Carlton will welcome back Adam Cerra from a hamstring injury if he can make it through training on Friday, while ruckman Marc Pittonet has been named in the extended squad.

West Coast have welcomed back rising stars Harley Reid (suspension) and Tim Kelly (hip) for Sunday’s game against Hawthorn in Perth.

Speedster Jack Petruccelle is ruled out with a thigh injury.

The Hawks rested Luke Breust.

Geelong have lost Tom Hawkins and Oliver Henry to injury for Saturday night’s blockbuster against Essendon.

The Bombers were boosted by the return of ruckman Todd Goldstein and Jade Gresham.

Port Adelaide duo Jase Burgoyne and Esava Ratugolea will miss Sunday’s game against St Kilda with hamstring problems, but Willie Rioli and Travis Boak are in line to return.

Nasiah Wanganeen-Milera and Jimmy Webster have been named in the extended Saints squad.

(AAP)

Brisbane Lions

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Melbourne Demons

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St Kilda Saints

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West Coast Eagles

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