For a handful of NRL teams, the State of Origin affected mid-season period is the most difficult time of the year to navigate.

While the Wests Tigers, Canterbury, Gold Coast, Cronulla and New Zealand have little to worry about in terms of considerable numbers being pulled from their squads and committed to state above club, others will be under immense strain through June and early July.

Brisbane were my early season smokey for the top eight and had five players selected for Origin 1, Melbourne were destined to have decent representation throughout the series and had four players enter the cauldron, while Penrith saw six mountain men suit up for New South Wales when the Blues fell to the Maroons in Game 1 on Wednesday evening.

The Roosters, Cowboys and Eels all had three key men selected in the opening fixture, the Knights, Raiders, Dragons and Bunnies two each, yet the Origin period scheduling appears to have served some well represented teams far better than others.

The draw and associated scheduling of byes makes the road ahead considerably tough for the Cowboys, Panthers and Roosters, with the 12 Origin players connected to those clubs not slated for respite in terms of an NRL bye until early July, just prior to the third and final Origin clash.

Their representative players’ services were missed by their respective clubs in the pre-Origin Round 13 where the Storm, Broncos, Eels and Knights enjoy a week off without their Origin stars and after risking life and limb at Accor Stadium, most will do their best to back up for Round 14 where all 16 teams are slated for action.

Prior to Origin 2 to be played in Perth on June 26th, those same North Queensland, Penrith and Sydney Roosters players, if selected, will be absent for Round 15; a full round of action that should really have offered teams devoid of an earlier bye the chance the restock and recover considering the busyness of the calendar.

Yet the NRL commission and its Origin scheduling has instead created a scenario where players from three well represented clubs will be absent from home and away action for the second time in three weeks, with others suffering far less interruption thanks to a pre-origin bye.

After what should be a ripping night in the west, a battle weary group of Origin stars from the Cows, Panthers and Roosters will attempt to haul themselves off the canvas for Round 16, longing for the bye that eventually comes their way in Round 17; just prior to the final match of the Origin series that takes place on July 13 in Brisbane.

The early rest for the Broncos, Eels, Storm, Knights, Dragons and Rabbitohs in the lead up to Origin 1 will serve them well across the Origin period, with Penrith, North Queensland and Sydney Roosters appearing to have drawn the short straw when it comes surviving what is always a challenging period for clubs providing a number of players in representative teams.

The Cowboys will battle the situation with tricky encounters against the Titans, Dragons and Sea Eagles, the Panthers should hammer the Dogs yet find things more difficult against the Knights and Warriors before facing a similarly depleted Roosters in Round 16. The Chooks have the toughest road ahead with Canberra, Melbourne and Parramatta ready to expose their fatigue and unavailability.

The Origin period is never fair, yet three teams appear to have it particularly tough in 2022 and could see their top four hopes seriously dented as they wait patiently for an NRL bye that comes all too late for them.

1 COMMENT

  1. This is wrong. There’s a reason why representative round exists – players who aren’t playing Origin 2 or in a rep game get the week off – no one loses players for Round 15 and they have a full week to back up for Round 16 with a weekend Origin game. Read the fixture dates mate.

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