City-Country 'is true NSW Origin trial' - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

City-Country 'is true NSW Origin trial'

By Todd Balym 08/05/2009 05:21:18 PM Comments (0)

Rather than cut the annual City-Country fixture from the crowded rugby league calender, NSW Origin coach Craig Bellamy believes a weekend should be set aside for it as well as the Test match against New Zealand.

He says the NRL should take a week off and dedicate it to those representative fixtures to ease the workload on players.

"Without a doubt there should be a break," Bellamy said.

"I think it's got the right to stand on its own as a match on a weekend on the Friday night so hopefully next year it might get that position.

"I can't see why they couldn't have the Test (Friday night) and City-Country perhaps Sunday afternoon."

The Melbourne mentor believes the NRL needs to do more to ease the burden on its star players to ensure their longevity in the game.

"We need to spread the games out a bit more.

"They're supposed to play 24 club games without finals and trials, three Origins, a Test and City-Country.

"It's a tough game every week in this NRL, it's such a close comp and obviously these rep games are another standard again.

"We need to find ways to make it a little bit easier on elite players otherwise we're going to burn them out before their time."

The year's City-Country represents a true NSW Origin trial with many positions still undecided, which validates its existence, according to Bellamy.

But describing himself as a "traditionalist" he said it was also important to the people of country NSW.

"It certainly hasn't lost its importance as far as I'm concerned," said Bellamy, who grew up near Orange, host town of the match.

"I think the City-Country game is a wonderful game for the country people of NSW.

"I think it's an important game in our league calendar for the fact that it's been around for so long."

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