Melbourne coach Simon Goodwin says no room for State of Origin

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An impassioned plea from AFL great Garry Lyon for a return to State of Origin fell on deaf ears at clubland with Melbourne coach Simon Goodwin declaring the competition had “evolved” and players couldn’t cope with any more football.

Lyon, who played for and captained Victoria in the 1990s when Origin was last played with any regularity, launched a tirade on Wednesday calling it an “unmitigated disgrace” that the NRL Origin spectacle was getting a free-hit on the MCG while the AFL refused to even entertain the idea.

The AFL last played a true Origin clash in 1999 and has shown no inclination to reinvigorate the concept despite the success of the annual three-match contest between NSW and Queensland in the NRL.

Goodwin, a South Australian who grew up watching epic contests between his home state and the “Big V” and played one Origin game in 1998, said he would forever remember those clashes.

But he said the competition had “evolved” to such a point that State of Origin football was both unnecessary, and logistically impossible in a 24 round AFL season which now runs from March until the end of September.

“I think we’ve all, from that era, and I’m one of those, we’re passionate about state footy because we saw what it brought to the game,” Goodwin said on Thursday.

“But we as we have progressed over the last 20 or 30 years, we have moved into a different type of game where it’s a national competition, it’s teams from every state involved. We have increased the length of our season.

“Would it still have the same passion it did in the 1980s, I’m not too sure.

“The devil is in the detail with a concept like that but we play so much footy now and the season goes so for so long … how much more can the indicts cope with ? I love it the way it is now.”

True AFL State of Origin has not been played since Victoria defeated SA 25 years ago amid reluctance from clubs to release players with more interest in winning a premiership than a one-off game in which players could get injured.

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