The AFL is considering reviving State of Origin.
The AFL is considering reviving State of Origin.

‘Make it happen’: AFL stars back bushfire Origin game

AFL State of Origin could be revived in aid of the devastating bushfire crisis that has engulfed the country.

The AFL is considering staging a game of representative football among current AFL stars among a raft of initiatives on the table to support bushfire-ravaged communities in Victoria and beyond.

The league - which has spent recent days formulating its support for those affected by the extensive fires in East Gippsland, the Alpine region of Victoria, New South Wales, Queensland and South Australia - has debated a range of fundraising initiatives.

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A State of Origin match - the likes of which has not been played for almost 21 years - between two teams comprised of current AFL players has emerged as a frontrunner and could be held as soon as next month.

The potential move has been met with early support from some of the game's biggest names, with AFL Players' Association president and Geelong champ Patrick Dangerfield quick to back the fundraiser.

"Let's make it happen!" Dangerfield wrote on Twitter about the possible Origin revival.

Collingwood skipper Scott Pendlebury said "bring it back", while star ruckmen Max Gawn and Nic Naitanui - who could potentially line-up against one another - were also quick to put their hand up for any Origin game.

Patrick Dangerfield could line up alongside Scott Pendlebury for Victoria is a State of Origin fundraising match goes ahead. Pic: Getty Images
Patrick Dangerfield could line up alongside Scott Pendlebury for Victoria is a State of Origin fundraising match goes ahead. Pic: Getty Images

The AFL confirmed on Tuesday that discussions were continuing for short-term fundraising initiatives, along with long-term support to help communities and regional clubs impacted by the fires.

It is understood Marvel Stadium is being considered as a venue for the representative clash with a potential match date of February 28.

On Wednesday morning the League said it was considering an 'All-Stars' match, perhaps similar to the one staged in 2008.

Nathan Burke gets a handball away for Victoria.
Nathan Burke gets a handball away for Victoria.
Jonathan Brown celebrates Victoria’s win in the Hall of Fame tribute match.
Jonathan Brown celebrates Victoria’s win in the Hall of Fame tribute match.

"Like everyone, our entire industry is united in our support for the communities impacted by bushfires and the incredible courage and commitment of the thousands of volunteers and emergency services and support agency personnel who are involved in protecting and helping people right across the country," a league spokesman said.

"There are a number of ideas and initiatives we are working through with clubs and players across both AFL and AFLW that can support fundraising efforts in the short-term as well as support the ongoing rebuilding of local communities in the longer term.

"Those discussions over how we best do that are continuing and there is widespread commitment to ensuring football does whatever it can to support affected communities any way we can.

"We will continue to work with AFL clubs and hope to confirm next steps in the coming days."

As clubs filter back after the Christmas and New Year break, further discussions will be held regarding the potential fundraising options.

One concept floated for the State of Origin clash has been to have two players from each AFL club nominated to play.

The last State of Origin match was played in 1999, when Victoria beat South Australia by 54 points at the MCG.

As the sporting world - including world No.1 Ash Barty and fellow tennis stars Novak Djokovic and Maria Sharapova, cricket legend Shane Warne and American basketball star LaMelo Ball - has rallied to support affected communities, the AFL community is also getting behind the cause.

Brad Johnson enjoys an interstate Victorian win in the State of Origin.
Brad Johnson enjoys an interstate Victorian win in the State of Origin.

A fundraising effort by Carlton that was launched on the weekend has already raised more than $40,000, while Melbourne players launched a campaign that has surpassed $30,000 in donations.

Essendon skipper Dyson Heppell is set to shave his trademark dreadlocks on Friday in aid of Wildlife Victoria and the Gippsland Emergency Relief Fund after an endeavour to raise $50,000 surpassed $100,000 on Tuesday afternoon.

Collingwood star Dayne Beams announced on Monday that he would auction his 2010 premiership medal in aid of those who have been affected by the fires, with bidding at almost $25,000 late on Tuesday.

News Corp Australia


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