Eels boss wants Origin to stay in Sydney - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Eels boss wants Origin to stay in Sydney

By Daniel Pace 20/07/2005 06:50:51 PM Comments (0)

Storm chief executive Brian Waldron has labelled Parramatta counterpart Denis Fitzgerald as insular after the Eels boss called for the Australian Rugby League to kill negotiations to play an Origin match in Melbourne next year.

Fitzgerald renewed his attack on developing rugby league in Victoria at a club chief executives meeting in Sydney.

The ARL plans on scheduling an Origin match in Melbourne in 2006 after the Victorian government agreed to spend $100 million redeveloping the Storm's home ground Olympic Park into a 25,000-seat stadium with a rectangular field.

Blues coach Ricky Stuart said earlier this month it would be a "disgrace" if Sydney lost the right to host one of its two Origins earmarked for next year but Waldron reckons it's case of short-sightedness from the Sydney Roosters mentor and Fitzgerald.

"You have to be prepared to have some courage and suffer a little bit of pain along the way," said Waldron about spreading the game in AFL heartland.

"That involves moving the odd Origin and Tri Nations game away. If we're prepared to do that we'll grow the game.

"If you don't we're kidding ourselves if we think we can ever truly compete with what is the number one national game (AFL) in relation to the spread and the share of the market they have.

"It's a very insular approach to think that the game should only be played in Queensland and New South Wales because you will restrict your capacity to grow the market."

Last year Fitzgerald - a vocal critic of the Storm - equated rugby league's presence in Victoria to "promoting beach volleyball in Iceland".

His criticism did not wane when he claimed an Origin would be "stolen" from Sydney and NSW fans if the plan to shift a game to Melbourne went ahead as expected.

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