Written by Joshua Dean
For many years, I have always believed an Australia vs. Australian A type of side would work immensely well. The concept has been used in many sports, however it rose to prominence with Australian cricket in the during the 1990s.
The Australia vs Australia A cricket series gave young superstars like Ricky Ponting, Matthew Hayden and Greg Blewett a chance to play against the top Australian cricket side and show that they were good enough. In that instance, Australia A almost beat the top Australian team in one game and if done properly, I think this concept could work in rugby league.
The way I see it working is being almost like a trial, where the Australia A side gets to go up against the top team who are supposedly better than them. These players would try their absolute best to prove that they are good enough to make the Kangaroos side in the future.
State of Origin may be like a national side trial for these players, however I think that this idea would also add an extra edge to International Rugby League, with more competitiveness for spots.
They could play a game against one another prior to the start of NRL which would add some more excitement to the pre-season, and then play a few games at the back end of the year against some international teams.
England have a a similar setup with their England Knights team. The Knights played a two-game series against Papua New Guinea in 2018 and played Jamaica in 2019.
Other nations only gain from these sort of matches and it would be great to see Australia doing the same thing as International Rugby League would really benefit from it.
Imagine a second Australian side going to North America and playing the USA, Canada and Jamaica. They may win easily, but it would do wonders for the growth of those national sides.