The competition between the NRL, the ACT, South Australia and Western Australia has never been as competitive as it is today.
But that could soon change if the NRL takes a step back from its competitive edge and allows players from all four states to compete in the top level of the game.
The game is so popular that many of the state competitions have their own tournament.
So why not allow a handful of state competition players to play for a chance to win a medal?
“There are many reasons why we would like to allow these players to compete.
First of all, if we had a regional competition and we had two teams that could compete at the regional level, it would be fantastic for the competition,” NSW chief executive Steve Costello told ABC News Breakfast.
“Secondly, it’s great for the NRL.
We have so many regional competitions now.
So, to have these two teams competing against each other, it really gives the players a chance at a medal.”
Thirdly, it gives the fans a chance, so we’ve had some great fans come out to games and we’ve got some great support from the fans and we would love to see them support us in the competition and help us get through this tough time.
“Finally, if there is any competition in the future, we’d like to see it be for the State of Origin game, where the two sides play each other in the semi-finals and we could have one of those teams that plays a game and we win that game, so that’s what we’re trying to achieve.”
Costello said the tournament would start in December but could be extended as the competition matures.
Players from the ACT and South Australia will compete in regional competitions that are currently limited to a maximum of two teams from each state.
However, if the competition was to be expanded to three teams, a maximum number of players from each of the states could compete.
The ACT and SA have been in discussions with the NRL to allow for the regional competition, with Costello confirming that the two states were in talks with the competition to allow more competition.
Costello also confirmed that the game was looking at increasing the number of games available to play between the states.
However the sport’s governing body, the NRLPA, has been under pressure to improve its competitiveness after it was revealed last year that only four of the sports best players had won a single medal in the past 12 years.
In a letter to the Australian Rugby League Board of Directors published on the league’s website in April this year, Costello confirmed that his club, the Rabbitohs, would not be entering the competition.
However he said that if the NSWRL and the ACTRL did not come up with a proposal by the end of the year, the club would be in the race.
“There will be competition for players in the state leagues in NSW and SA, so there will be a possibility to enter the competition, if and when there is enough competition in those states,” Costello said.
“If there is not enough competition for the state teams, we will enter the State and Country competition and the state league will then enter the state competition.”
“If it wasn’t for the fact that we’ve been in the business for 30 years and the NRL is not competitive in the NRL and ACT, we would enter the national competition and maybe even the world competition.”
The NSWRL did say it was open to a bid from the Australian Sports Commission for the 2019 State of Queensland competition.
The league has yet to make a decision on that bid.
The competition between Queensland and New South Wales is the longest-running of its kind in the world.
In 2016, a proposal to expand the competition failed after the NSW and ACT governments refused to agree on funding and a number of stakeholders said they did not want the game to be allowed to grow in size.
Costell said he was hopeful that the NRL would reconsider its decision to expand its competition.
“I think that the last 10 years, it has really taken a very long time for us to really get into the competitive game,” he said.
“We’ve got a really strong fan base in NSW, a very strong fan support base in Queensland, but we haven’t got a great deal of competition, so hopefully they’re going to be very open to that competition again.”