Rugby League State of Origin Series

The State of Origin rugby league series is one of the most keenly anticipated events on the Australian sporting calendar. The event, which is played on an annual basis, features a three match series between the Queensland Maroons and the New South Wales Blues.

The State of Origin Series evokes strong partisan sentiments amongst spectators, as selection for the two teams is determined by the state in which professional players first began playing the game at senior level. State of Origin Series matches draw large attendances, with millions more tuning in to the games from around the world.

The schedule for the State of Origin Series falls in the middle of the National Rugby League season, thereby ensuring that players are at peak fitness when participating in the series. During its history the State or Origin Series has produced very balanced results with neither state managing to dominate for long periods of time.

State of Origin Series Betting

Interest in the State of Origin Series is not confined to Australasia, but it is Australian sportsbooks that provide the greatest depth in betting markets for these three matches. UK bookmakers also offer a more limited selection of markets for these matches, enabling rugby league fans to back teams in both handicap and match betting markets.

Antepost State of Origin Series betting markets are the easiest markets to come by across a broad range of bookmakers, with top sportsbooks running these markets 12 months of the year. Prices are rarely high in value, which means that use of an odds comparison service can be invaluable when attempting to extract maximum benefit from these markets.

State of Origin Series History

Matches between state teams from Queensland and New South Wales date back to 1908, and were played intermittently for the first several decades of the 20th century. These matches tended to be sparsely attended, and the concept enjoyed more popularity in Queensland than in New South Wales.

During the 1970s the Australian Rugby League made the decision to revitalise the tournament by borrowing a concept that had been implemented with great success in Australian Rules football. This involved selecting players for the regional teams based on their home state, rather than the state in which they played their club rugby.

The decision to change the selection format for the interstate series proved to be a winning recipe. The inaugural State of Origin matches, using the new selection criteria, drew unexpectedly large crowds. From the 1980s onward the popularity of the series grew steadily, despite occasional amendments to the policies used to select players for the participating states.

Changes to the PED policy come into affect with the agreement of the NFL and NFLPA

nfl

Performance enhancing drugs also referred to as PEDs, have been a major issue for professional athletes in all fields. The policies designed to crack down on both PED and recreational drug uses have been under a lot of review in the NFL after a lot of players were put on suspension for their use during the off season. Most recently to be affected by the old policy of off season usage penalties was Bronco’s wide receiver Wes Walker.

Details about Walker’s case and how they are important.

He failed a random drug test and was placed on a 4 game ban that would last until October 6th. It was unclear at first what PED or recreational drug he was found to be taking and the accusations range from the street drug known as “Molly” to the prescription amphetamine known as Adderall. However, later details revealed it was most likely Adderall. In a press release he did not address what he had taken and said he did nothing wrong. He instead focused his attention towards the policies he felt were out dated, poorly written and unevenly enforced. His opinions have not gone unheard and for weeks the NFL and NFLPA had been working towards a revision of the rules.

The new changes to the PED and recreational drug use policy. 

Under the old policy failing a test, any time of year, meant an automatic 4 game suspension. However, under the new policy that is no longer the case. If a player tests positive during the off season, for example, they will be remanded to substance abuse programs. If the player tests positive during the game season, they will be subject to suspensions and possible bans depending on the number of offenses.

First offense can result in up a 6 game suspension without pay.

Second offense will result in a 10 game suspension without pay.

Third offense it a flat 2 year ban from the game.

They will also be enforcing old rules that have been laxly adhered to regarding Human Growth Hormones or HGH. Arbitration will also now be conducted by a neutral third party. They will hear evidence and review test results, as well as debate the proposed bans and suspensions. Additional conditions of the the new policy are:

If a player tests positive for anabolic steroids such as, oral steroids Dianabol, Winstrol, Anavar and  Anadrol, or stimulants, HGH or any other banned substance it is a minimal 4 game suspension without pay.

Using a masking chemical or diuretic to obscure test results is a fined with a 2 game suspension and no pay.

If adequate evidence is provided that a player attempted to alter the test results it will be an automatic 6 game ban without pay.

To expedite the process, appeals will be handled for swiftly now for players who have a questionable drug test result and are relegated to the disciplinary board.

How these new policies affect the players. 

In addiction to a new set of policies regarding positive testing for PED and recreational drugs, all players will be screened for HGH as well. Human Growth Hormone has been a controversial therapy and while its been on the banned list, its use is still widely suspected among athletes.  It has always been a part of regulations to test for the use of HGH, but it is one that the actual testing for has been neglected, until now. The addition of enforcement of testing for it will mean potentially more incidents of failed tests being brought for review.

The implementation of the new policies have also meant that previously suspended players will be allowed to return to the field next month, as their penalties have been reduced or cleared. Wes Walker is among the players returning earlier than expected, and he made positive statements about seeing the changes actually happen. Other players, such as Josh Gordon of the Cleveland Browns and LaVon Brazill, former Colts receiver for Indiana, both had year long suspension cut to just 10 games instead of a full year.

Outlook for the NFL with the new changes. 

The revisions have long been over due in the opinion of many professional athletes in the NFL, however with the changes will come a new era of potential scandal. The problem that is not addressed is that only players caught using drugs in the off season are being required to seek therapy. While the new penalty system and enforced regulation of testing for more drugs will help weed out problems, it does not focus on the heart of the problem. While most agree that the reforms are a great step in the right direction, it is still not enough to meet the goal of a drug free playing field. If the NFL and NFLPA cannot enforce more requirements that involve correcting the problem behind failed tests, then it will be up to the team owners and coaches to do so.