The spectre of a knee injury suffered by Josh Fraser while playing for Victoria 12 years ago hangs in the back of Scott Pendlebury's mind heading into Friday night's bushfire relief state of origin match, but the Collingwood skipper says that the interests of supporters must be put first in deciding whether state games should be brought back on a regular basis.
Friday night's match at Marvel Stadium between Victoria and a composite All-Stars line-up will be the first of its kind since that 2008 Victoria-Dream Team clash to commemorate the 150th anniversary of Australian football.
Regular origin football ceased in 1999 when Victoria beat South Australia on a wet day at the MCG, with clubs generally reluctant to return to the concept in years since.
However with Marvel set to be packed on Friday night, Pendlebury said there was clearly an appetite for such matches to be played more often.
But Pendlebury was also cognisant of the risks that come from playing in this sort of game. Pendlebury donned the 'Big V' in that 2008 match, in which Fraser sustained a knee injury which curtailed his promising career.
Josh Fraser, playing for Victoria against the Dream Team in 2008’s origin clash, later suffered a knee injury in the game.Credit:Sebastian Coastanzo
"In 2008, Josh Fraser did his PCL in this game. We lost our No.1 ruckman for the second half of the year, going into a finals campaign as well. So I can see both sides of the story," Pendlebury said on Thursday.
"But I think the most important people are the fans, and if they really enjoy it, they really embrace the game, the players want to put their hand up to play, then it's something that hopefully can get up. Collingwood plays Richmond in Wangaratta on Sunday. Someone could get hurt there [too]."
Dual Richmond premiership captain Trent Cotchin has been unveiled as Victorian captain for the match, while Fremantle superstar and skipper Nat Fyfe will lead the All-Stars.
Tigers spearhead Jack Riewoldt will play for the All-Stars and suggested he could see a future for the origin concept.
"It's going to be a great test case for what state of origin footy could look like going forward," Riewoldt said.
The match also pits rivals Western Bulldogs captain Marcus Bontempelli and Greater Western Sydney dynamo Toby Greene on the same Victorian side less than six months after Greene was fined for "serious misconduct" after a run-in with Bontempelli during the finals.
Victorian stars Scott Pendlebury, Trent Cotchin, Marcus Bontempelli, Josh Kelly and Dustin Martin train at Marvel Stadium on Thursday.Credit:AAP
But the pair exchanged pleasantries when the Victorian camp convened on Thursday.
"I had a good chat with him just before and it was all good," Greene said.
However just because he is playing for the home team, the antagonistic Greene isn't totally convinced he will be cheered by Victorian fans on Friday night.
"We'll see how we go. I still might get a few boos from the Bulldogs supporters, that's fine. But nah, really looking forward to it. It'll be a great opportunity."
Greene's Giants and Victorian teammate Jeremy Cameron was anticipating a robust affair.
"Both teams definitely want to win so we'd love to punch them up a bit and get the win. Hopefully there's a lot of goals kicked and it's a really good spectacle as it's for a really good cause," Cameron said.
But Greene joked that he would be reluctant to run through GWS skipper Stephen Coniglio, who will line up for the All-Stars on Friday night.
"I won't touch him, no," Greene said.
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