Hybrid must happen: League v Union

Australian League Union Rugby Hybrid GameIt’s been talked about forever, but it’s a concept that really needs to happen. The following would no doubt be enormous, it has the potential to make State of Origin or even Super 14 look like suburban fixtures.

Talk is abound that a ‘hybrid game’ is being discussed, a new set of rules allowing League players to square off against the best from Union. Kangaroos vs Wallabies, the ultimate showdown. It would have League folk and Rah Rah faithful packing out stadiums and pubs everywhere – the ultimate event on the Australian sporting calendar.

Just imagine, Jonathan Thurston v Matt Giteau. Greg Inglis v Stirling Mortlock.

There would be magic clashes of individuals all over the park, it’s a dream of sporting fans across Australia for seemingly years.

With talk again opening up – that dream could become a reality; a potential cross-code showdown could be on the horizon. While the ARU today said nothing has been discussed or tabled; the fact that the hybrid concept is again on the table is a positive sign.

Naturally both Union and League bosses would fear such a concept unless they got a decent portion of control and a pocket full of pennies from the event. Any promoter that has the majority stake in the event, could potentially become untouchable overnight. If it was successful, the concept could dwarf both codes and threaten a whole new world for Australian Rugby Football. This would not doubt be the reason bosses from both the League and Union would be scared to commit.

The promotion has always had the fans crying out for it …  but without any official nod from either the Australian Rugby Union or Australian Rugby League – there is still some way to go before we have an answer to the ultimate pub hypothetical.

News Ltd reports today reveal promoter Phil Franks is the man behind the push, having tabled his proposal to both governing bodies for their backing.

The proposal would see the Kangaroos and Wallabies play a hybrid version of the codes at ANZ Stadium, most likely in front of a sell-out crowd and for an anticipated $15 million return.

While Franks is yet to formally speak to ARU chief executive John O’Neill or ARL counterpart Geoff Carr – but plans to personally approach the pair this week.

“I didn’t want to speak to them until they got a taste of the enormity and benefit of it,” Franks told News Ltd last night.

“John O’Neill is the sort of man that can make this happen because he is a business genius.”

Instead of playing the match under the rules structure of one code – Franks is pushing for the development of a hybrid set of rules which would see the teams on an even playing field – possibly 12-a-side.

Two men who have been flagged as members of a rule-change committee are former Wallabies coach Bob Dwyer and Rugby League Immortal Bob Fulton.

Dwyer admits his excited by the concept.

“There’s a lot of reasons for playing it,” Dwyer told News Ltd.

“One of the important reasons is, if we are in the entertainment industry and those people that we are trying to attract want to see it – and it does seem like the people we’re trying to attract do want to see it – then isn’t that what we’re here for?”

Fulton was equally supportive.

“It will be an absolutely outstanding promotion and, just being a football fan, I’d love to see it,” Fulton told News Ltd.

“And I’m sure there’s plenty of other people that, as long as the t’s are crossed and the i’s dotted in relation to getting it together, would love to see it also.

“The players from both codes would also love to be involved in a game of this stature.”

Boardroom politics could very easily signal the end of discussions – but with both codes in need of funding, this could just be the money-spinning promotion they were after.

2 thoughts on “Hybrid must happen: League v Union”

  1. What’s the point of a hybrid game? it makes no sense at all.Union and League are as different as basketball and netball.
    League converts have proved time and time again that they aren’t able to cross over to Union successfully (bar Lote)
    It’s a stupid idea and would only serve to cause argument over the rules suiting a particular code.
    League is obviously desperate to get bums on seats as the turnout to matches is pathetic, more ppl were at Suncorp for the Bledisloe than the League world final! a sad state of affairs and a reflection on a game in desperation.

  2. Its just not as easily done for union as it is League… With league after the NRL the test matches are a bit of a joke but for union after the super14 we go on to play the tri-nations and bledisloe as well as a european tour… the wallabies need to focus on this sort of success and heading into the 2011 world cup (which is of a far greater standard then the league world cup) they can’t just waste the time and training foir a game like this… they’d have to learn new rules and playes and their is the potential for a key player to get injured, it’s just not a risk the ARU should be willing to make for a bit of money.

    Sure the ARL could really use the money but the ARU has come up with their own ways to make money…the hong kong bledisloe match for example and games like these have been sugested for Twickenham and California.

    And what kind of decent rules would the game have anyway… there is no way a proper scrum could take place the league boys would stand a high chance of breaking a neck, an rucks or mauls union would dominate and attack wise union could consistinatly pick and drive over the line. The only advantage league would have is speed and attack but with the right union players that could be easily combated with the likes of Giteau’s playmaking and mortlock’s defence.

    It just wouldn’t work, and it’s more of a risk for union then a benefit.

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