Kangaroos v All Blacks would be the ultimate code war battle
Kangaroos v All Blacks would be the ultimate code war battle

The ultimate code war and a chance to end age old debate

The Kangaroos versus the All Blacks. Two codes. Two iconic football teams. Two great nations with pride on the line ... what a blockbuster it would be.

During my playing career, I always pondered what it would be like if the Kangaroos played the Wallabies in a cross-code battle.

I would run through machinations in my head around the rules, how you officiate the games and whether the concept would be more suited to rugby league or rugby union players.

The notion of the All Blacks facing the Kangaroos, I'm sure, is an itch the players have wanted to scratch.

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Down deep, you wonder if you are better than the Wallabies or the All Blacks and who would win the bragging rights for the code?

 

Kangaroos v All Blacks would be the ultimate code war battle
Kangaroos v All Blacks would be the ultimate code war battle

 

There has previously been talk of a Wallabies-Kangaroos contest but I believe involving another country in New Zealand, especially one so proud of their All Blacks brand, would make for a sensational match.

With New Zealand Rugby and the ARL Commission currently in negotiations with promoters, it would be great to finally put the debate to bed.

The most critical facet in this cross-code talk is getting the rules right.

I remember a Clash of the Codes contest in 1996 between English rugby league giants Wigan and rugby rivals Bath.

The first game, played under league rules, was won 82-6 by Wigan.

The second game, played under union rules, was won 44-19 by Bath.

That novel two-match series underlines the importance of striking the right balance for an All Blacks-Kangaroos match.

 

The All Blacks hold a place in a country’s national identity few other sports teams do.
The All Blacks hold a place in a country’s national identity few other sports teams do.

 

It would be a stretch to expect the Kangaroos players to scrummage like the All Blacks forwards, just as it would be an onerous ask for New Zealand's rugby guys to get back 10 metres for every tackle.

The fairest way is to bed down rules that will cater for both sides to ensure the match is competitive with the key skill-sets prevailing.

The All Blacks have dominated most recent Rugby Union World Cups, as have the Kangaroos in their sport, so it would be a mouth-watering concept.

If the coronavirus pandemic has shown anything this year, it is that experimentation can deliver rewards. We have seen that this year in the NRL with the one-referee system and the six-again rule which has created a more fast-paced game.

This can be a southern-hemisphere version of the NFL's Super Bowl.

The attraction for the Kangaroos is the shot-in-the-arm it could be for the brand. It would take rugby league's green-and-gold tradition to millions of eyeballs around the world, and I hope it could be a springboard to other promotional endeavours.

 

The Kangaroos are the current World Cup holders and would relish any kind of new test.
The Kangaroos are the current World Cup holders and would relish any kind of new test.

 

But for now, let's take the first step against the All Blacks and it has to be a close contest, otherwise people will write it off.

There's no doubt the Kangaroos could leverage off the iconic All Blacks brand to enhance Australia's rugby league brand globally.

I was approached by the Australian Rugby Union before the 2003 World Cup. They had signed Wendell Sailor, Mat Rogers and Lote Tuqiri and I was sounded out as well.

At the time, I had established myself as the Brisbane, Queensland and Australian fullback. We had won a premiership with the Broncos in 2000 so I was in a really happy place fulfilling a childhood dream and I didn't feel like I needed another challenge.

I've always admired the skill of rugby players. They have beautiful passes and bring their backs onto the ball so well.

Hopefully the respective parties can get the deal done because it would be a massive stimulation for Kangaroos and All Blacks players to test each other. The fans would love it.

For now, the more immediate focus is the Broncos-Titans clash at Suncorp on Saturday night.

There is no doubt there's more pressure on the Broncos going into this game so it will be interesting to see how they handle that pressure.

If the Broncos do the basics well, they give themselves their best chance, but the Titans have won their latest two derbies at Suncorp.

The start will be crucial. There is a lot of discussion around Anthony Milford, but as Broncos five-eighth, he should be more focused on his forwards creating a platform for him rather than demanding the football to run.

If he gets momentum through the middle, that will give Milford the platform he needs to show his talent.

Originally published as The ultimate code war and a chance to end age old debate