New Melbourne chief executive Dave Donaghy has wasted no time throwing his support behind Des Hasler’s push for an overhaul of State of Origin scheduling.
In his first day on the job, Donaghy on Thursday added to the growing chorus of calls for stand-alone Origin fixtures, pleading with decision makers to find a solution to the problem.
The Melbourne Storm are traditionally one of the club’s hardest hit by the representative drain with their “Big Three” of Cameron Smith, Billy Slater and Cooper Cronk fixtures of the Queensland and Australian teams.
After losing to Parramatta on Monday night, the Storm have won just two of six matches without the key trio since 2010, according to Fox Sports Stats.
The NRL is negotiating its new TV deal, which will begin when its current contract with Fox Sports and Channel 9 expires in 2017.
NRL boss Dave Smith last week hosed down hope of Origin matches being moved to their own weekend with a new TV deal, saying he was reluctant to tinker with the “jewel in the crown”.
Wednesday’s Origin II in Melbourne was the year’s highest rating television show and Channel 9 is understandably keen to keep it on Wednesday night.
However Donaghy, appearing at the press conference to announce his promotion to the Storm CEO position, said he hoped a compromise could be found that would serve the players, club and broadcasters.
“I do think that having seen how these guys perform through that period and the impact that can have on clubs, I would certainly hope that (the NRL) are seriously considering stand alone Origins,” Donaghey said.
“I think that would go without saying. It’s got benefit for us, benefit for the players and I’m sure somewhere down the track there will be people smarter than me would find mutual benefit for the game and broadcasters.”
Canterbury coach Des Hasler on Sunday launched an attack on Origin scheduling, saying it was embarrassing that the competition went on without some of its best players.
“Both sides were without players. Origin is a wonderful fixture, a wonderful event. Professionally as a code, when you ravage a competition for Origin, it’s a bit embarrassing isn’t it?” Hasler said after his side’s loss to the Gold Coast.