The 2019 Rugby League World Cup 9s was the inaugural season of the Rugby League World Cup 9s. 12 teams were selected to compete in the men’s tournament while four were selected for the women’s tournament. Australia, Cook Islands, England, Fiji, France, Lebanon, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Tonga Invitational, United States and Wales were grouped into three groups of 4; four teams advanced to the semifinals and the final saw New Zealand face off with hosts, Australia. On the 19th of October 2019, Australia defeated New Zealand 24-10 to become the first winner of the Rugby League World Cup 9s.
For the women’s league, Australia, England, New Zealand, and Papua New Guinea were selected to compete in the tournament. New Zealand and Australia played the final just like in the men’s tournament but New Zealand emerged winner this time around. On the 19th of October 2019, New Zealand pipped Australia to 17-15 victory to emerge as the first winner of the women’s tournament.
The Rugby League World Cup 9s inaugural season was a massive success that has made some even start to entertain the idea of a state of origin concept for this format.
The State of Origin is the biggest sporting event in Australia, not just in rugby. It is the premier event and represents the pinnacle of the rugby league in the country. The state of Origin has also enjoyed huge success with the international audience; it is televised in 91 countries.
Part of this success has stemmed from the concept used in the event; two teams competing each year to earn bragging rights. Players representing the state that they played their first rugby league. Fans having a homegrown team to support to be regarded as the best state in Australian rugby. All of these scenarios have combined together to make the State of Origin the global phenomenon that it is today.
The Australian team had the likes of emerging players such as AJ Brimson and Kyle Feldt line up in the same team as more established players such as Kalyn Ponga, Jai Arrow, and David Fifita. So why not have a Nines format of the State of Origin series? The Queensland Maroon and New South Wales Blue can name emerging and regular players in its team and play a best-of-three series using Nines rules.
This new concept would present an extra avenue for players in the Queensland Maroons and New South Wales team to spend more time together. It could be a part of the pre-season events at the NRL Nines and players will have more opportunities to build a better relationship on and off the field.
Also, fans get an extra look into their favorite teams. More games mean more opportunities to watch emerging players.
Finally, financial incentives. This proposed tournament will have its own prize money and this could be used for the state development programs as well as increased funding for the State of Origin training camps proper A State of Origin series in the Nine format is truly an exciting prospect but the question is will it ever happen?