• Owen Craigie gives a reviews the past week in rugby (NITV)Source: NITV
State of Origin Game Two isn't the only must watch game this weekend, the Representative Round will draw a big crowd, says premiership-winning player and Over the Black Dot co-host, Owen Craigie.
By
Owen Craigie

19 Jun 2018 - 1:54 PM  UPDATED 19 Jun 2018 - 1:54 PM

It was great to receive so much feedback on the suggestion of an Aboriginal Players’ Association for rugby league.

So let’s keep the conversation going and keep trying to make the game better for everyone who plays it, as well as those who enjoy watching it.

 

Representative Round

On that, this weekend shapes as a real celebration of the sport, with the women’s State of Origin on Friday night at North Sydney Oval; Papua New Guinea versus Fiji and Samoa versus Tonga at Campbelltown Stadium on Saturday; And of course Game Two of the men’s State of Origin on Sunday evening at ANZ Stadium. The stand-alone representative round is a really good idea and I’m sure it’ll be a hit.

I think it’ll be a great weekend and the State of Origin's Game Two on Sunday might even get more viewers and more spectators than any other Origin. It’ll allow more for families to get involved and all the young kids that love footy and are not going to bed late during the week, can actually stay up later and watch the Origin.

There’s a big Tongan and Fijian community in Sydney, a big Polynesian community overall, so I think Saturday will go really well for them. I think it just all shows the game’s grown so much and all cultures and countries can be showcased on the footy field. It’s great.

 

Cultural Growth in Rugby League

20 years ago, there was none of this. Now you can represent your country and your culture through the year.

We’ve got a buffet of rugby league this weekend at the highest level, international games and State of Origin  —what more do you want?

It gives all of the different communities something to cheer about and it teaches the younger generation of those countries and nationalities about culture and how important sport is to those nations.

It’s something the Koori Knockout has done so well.

The lesson the NRL needs to keep taking on board is that if you look at rugby league and you look at the culture of rugby league, the Koori Knockout is the core of all cultural rugby league.

Entering its 45th year, the Koori Knockout has been going for a big portion of the colonisation in this country. The importance of the tournament even shows that women’s rugby league came to life from the Koori Knockout.

 

International Test Match

The weekend’s footy should be a lot of fun and I’m interested to see the turnout in Denver in the US when England plays New Zealand on Sunday morning.

I think it’s great to head over there. Take the game around the world and showcase it to the world.

Canada wants to have a team starting to make waves and America are trying to grow the game over there; at the end of the day let’s try and turn it into a global sport like your soccer and your rugby union.

Why not? If the opportunity’s there, take it. Following that Test match, it all turns back to Sydney for Origin II.

 

Origin's Back

After the first game which NSW won, there is huge expectation on the Blues and I reckon it’ll be the same result in Game Two. It’s all there in the script as it moves to NSW; it’s on a Sunday evening which is unique in itself and the Sydney boys and NSW boys will be raring to go again.

They’re all in great form and like I said from day one, it’ll be a 3-0 clean sweep and they’ll wrap the series up on Sunday.

It’ll be a 3-0 clean sweep and NSW will wrap the series up

Hopefully we get to see Latrell Mitchell at his best again. I saw the scary injury he suffered on Friday, but I think he’s been given the ‘all clear’.

When I saw it I thought, Oh my god, the kid’s just about to go from a great player to stardom and a superstar. You don’t want to have an injury right now. The greatest game is Origin and he killed it in Game One and he’s likely to kill it in Game Two and win player of the series.

The last thing you want is an injury like that to take him out. But I’m glad he’s seemingly fine. 

For Queensland, I don’t think they can rescue it.

For Queensland, I don’t think they can rescue it.

They’ve rightly brought in Kalyn Ponga who is in great form and he’s dangerous, but I just don’t think they can match it with NSW. Every player that’s playing for NSW is their standout players at club level in the NRL. It’s something that hasn’t happened for the last 15 years —they’ve actually picked everyone who’s in form.

 

We’re set for a terrific weekend so if you can, go out and see it. There’s gonna be some great games out there in Western Sydney and if you can’t make it, switch on the TV and enjoy.

Owen Craigie is a Gamilaroi man and former NRL star. Owen has played for the Newcastle Knights, Wests Tigers and South Sydney Rabbitohs. He is co-host of NITV's weekly Rugby League panel program, Over The Black Dot.  

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