Billy Slater smacks down State of Origin night change amid push from Peter V'landys

Calls are growing for the State of Origin to be played on a Monday night in future.

Queensland coach Billy Slater has shot down talk of switching State of Origin to a Monday night after ARLC chairman Peter V’landys confirmed the NRL was considering the idea. Origin has traditionally been held on a Wednesday night, meaning some players from the Maroons and Blues are faced with very short turnarounds if they choose to run out for their NRL club after playing for their state.

Moving the Origin games to a Monday night would give players extra recovery time before playing in the NRL and lessen the burden on some of the game's best players. V’landys admitted to The Daily Telegraph this week that the idea has "merit" and is something the NRL will consider in the future. “Any good ideas will be considered,” V’landys said. This has got some merit and should be in the mix when we’re next discussing the schedule.”

On the right is QLD Origin coach Billy Slater and ARLC chairman Peter V'landys on left.
Billy Slater says he's against the idea of changing State of Origin to a Monday night after ARLC chairman Peter V'landys admitted the NRL would consider the move. Pic: Getty

But Maroons coach Slater has expressed his opposition to the idea and says moving the Origin from a Wednesday could affect the quality of footy. The league legend says having a 10-day preparation for Origin games allows for the best possible product but reducing the amount of time both teams have in camp by bringing the games forward two days, could negatively impact the spectacle.

"I think it works the way it is," the Maroons coach said on the 'Billy Slater Podcast'. "The 10-day preparation allows for the quality of the game. If you reduce the preparation, you are risking reducing the quality of the performance.

"We have seen the numbers throughout the men's and women's State of Origin and they are elite, they are right at the top of the tree. If you start playing with the product, you risk diminishing the product of the performances of the teams.

"That's one thing that I have been very forward about - the quality of the product. That's the reason why people watch State of Origin and that's the reason why it's held in such regard, because of the quality of the game. I don't think we need to go near that."

Fellow Maroons legend Darren Lockyer says he understands the player welfare reasons for wanting to move Origin to a Monday night. But the four-time NRL premiership winner warns that any change could affect the TV ratings for State of Origin and have a negative financial impact on the game.

"It's definitely got merit from a player welfare perspective," Lockyer said on the 'QLDER' podcast. "The only thing I'm concerned about... the revenue that comes into the game has a lot to do with the broadcast viewing. If you don't have that 10-day lead into the Origin and don't get that rating that you need, it obviously impacts the game financially. There's a balancing act here - the players and the stakeholders - so it's an interesting debate that's going to happen."

Pictured left, Maroons legend Darren Lockyer.
Darren Lockyer is concerned moving State of Origin games away from Wednesday night would affect TV ratings. Pic: Getty

Several NRL clubs had players backing up just two or three days after the opening State of Origin game in Sydney, with North Queensland arguably the worst affected. The Cowboys had six players involved in Game I of the Origin series and were forced to play three days later against the Warriors, who didn't have a single Origin player in their squad. The Cowboys opted to rest two of their Origin stars but the other four backed up as North Queensland were trounced 42-12 by the Warriors at home.