During the week, the AFL suggested that instead of State of Origin, it might trial an East vs. West fixture in 2014 which would see the teams divided into two distinct groups.
On the Eastern side, Hawthorn, Richmond, Collingwood, Melbourne and St. Kilda would join forces with the New South Wales and Queensland interstate sides.
For the Western side, Essendon, Geelong, Carlton, North Melbourne and Western Bulldogs would team up with those interstate sides from South Australia and Western Australia.
To get a grasp of what the teams may look like, these are potential sides:
B: Matt Suckling – James Frawley – Sam Fisher
HB: Brendon Goddard – Ben Reid – Heath Shaw
C: Josh Kennedy – Lenny Hayes – Trent Cotchin
HF: Dustin Martin – Jonathan Brown – Adam Goodes
F: Jack Riewoldt – Lance Franklin – Stephen Milne
R: Shane Mumford – Scott Pendlebury – Gary Ablett
INT: Jack Redden – Brett Deledio – Dayne Beams – Dane Swan
The East side would be a very formidable outfit with strong defenders, a well-rounded midfield and a forward line to die for.
You know you have an array of key forwards when Travis Cloke, Nick Riewoldt and even Jarryd Roughead and Mitch Clark can’t find a spot in the side.
The key backs are a bit weaker in depth given Hawthorn, Richmond, Gold Coast and GWS don’t have strong defences. Alex Rance is an unlucky exclusion who could fill in for any of the three keys.
There isn’t a lot to pick as fur as ruckmen go. Shane Mumford, Ivan Maric, Mark Jamar, Darren Jolly and Ben McEvoy are the only solid ruckmen with Matthew Leuenberger unable to get on the park.
The interchange bench is unbelievable and you’d love to have that kind of quality rotating off the bench.
B: Corey Enright – Darren Glass – Brian Lake
HB: Heath Scotland – Matthew Scarlett – Graham Johncock
C: Jimmy Bartel – Chris Judd – Marc Murphy
HF: Steve Johnson – Matthew Pavlich – Mark LeCras
F: Eddie Betts – Tom Hawkins – Drew Petrie
R: Dean Cox – Joel Selwood – Jobe Watson
INT: Sam Jacobs – Andrew Swallow – Scott Thompson – Matthew Priddis
The West side is contrasting to the East side with its strengths lying in its key backs and rucks, while its small forwards are also dangerous.
Trying to pick from Dean Cox, Nic Naitanui, Sam Jacobs, Aaron Sandilands, Todd Goldstein and Matthew Kreuzer would give any selector good headaches.
After the three key forwards, there isn’t as much depth as the East team, although players such as Kurt Tippett, Taylor Walker, Michael Hurley and Josh Kennedy would mount a case.
The midfield is an honest inside midfield with plenty of clearance machines that can get it down to Steve Johnson, Mark LeCras and Eddie Betts who are probably the most dangerous players around goals.
West’s key backs in Darren Glass, Brian Lake and Matthew Scarlett are arguably the three best key defenders in the league, and one would need them to be in order to face the key forwards of the East.
It is an interesting idea which will no doubt become a larger discussion over the next eighteen months. It is a concept that is exciting and will have fans on the edge of their seats watching tantalising match ups, but will they have the same passion as they did for State of Origin?