But Origin’s return to three Wednesday night matches from next year means the representative round will be scrapped and NRL games will be played every weekend.
The Rugby League Players Association is already lobbying for NSW and Queensland players to be automatically stood down from club duties after Origin matches following one of the fastest – and most brutal – Origin matches ever played in the recent series decider.
The Panthers rested all seven of their Origin contingent the following weekend, but other stars such as James Tedesco and Daniel Tupou opted to back up less than 72 hours later with their team scrapping for a finals spot.
The NRL’s plan for three byes per team is designed to ease the workload on players, in particular Origin stars, but will have the regular season nudging closer to the hottest part of the year. The NRL will schedule a greater concentration of byes…