I don't like it.
ARL, ARU in talks for a hyrbrid contest between Wallabies-Kangaroos
SECRET negotiations are taking place to secure an historic Kangaroos versus Wallabies match next October at ANZ Stadium is Sydney.
The game has already been booked for ANZ, where officials have labelled it the biggest event since the Sydney Olympics in 2000.
The negotiations are in their infancy and their eventual success ultimately will depend on the delicate relationship between the Australian Rugby Union and the Australian Rugby League.
However the first dramatic chink in the seemingly impenetrable barrier that has separated the codes for 100 years has been made.
The prospect of watching Matt Giteau taking on Darren Lockyer, Stirling Mortlock against Greg Inglis and the like would cause unprecedented interest among Australian sports fans.
The blockbuster will generate an estimated $15million, while promoters have promised $2million to a children's hospital.
ARL chairman Colin Love has agreed, in principle, to the game -- supporting an idea that benefits children's charities.
Australian Rugby Union chairman Peter McGrath was told about the bold proposal yesterday and preferred to speak to chief executive John O'Neill before commenting.
There are many reasons why a hybrid match between rugby union's Wallabies and rugby league's Kangaroos will not go ahead - but one overwhelming reason why it should.
The fans want it.
Promoter Phil Franks has promised to work closely with both the Australian Rugby Union and Australian Rugby League in order to ensure the game goes ahead.
Franks intends to formally approach ARU chief executive John O'Neill and ARL counterpart Geoff Carr this week.
"I didn't want to speak to them until they got a taste of the enormity and benefit of it," he said.
"John O'Neill is the sort of man that can make this happen because he is a business genius."
For 100 years football fans have argued about the respective merits of league versus union - who would win and why - and now they appear set to get their answer.
Some of the biggest names from each code, including former Wallabies coach Bob Dwyer and former Kangaroos coach Bob Fulton, support the hybrid match.
"There's a lot of reasons for playing it," Dwyer said.
"One of the important reasons is, if we are in the entertainment industry and those people that we are trying to attract want to see it - and it does seem like the people we're trying to attract do want to see it - then isn't that what we're here for?"
Until now, any attempt to decide the best footballers between the codes has been unsatisfactory. Generally played under home team rules, the result has often ended wildly in favour of the home team.
But Franks, a property developer who played league for Norths, Balmain and Penrith, believes he has the key, and after booking ANZ Stadium for the game last week he patented "Hybrid Twelve" on Friday.
He is also close to signing an underwriter for a multi-million- dollar deal.
The success of the match will depend on establishing rules that ultimately decide the best football team and not which team is best advantaged by the rule interpretations. Dwyer and Fulton will be part of the rules committee charged with finding rules that suit both codes equally.
Another high-profile rugby expert has also committed, while it is planned that other experts will also be invited.
"It will be an absolutely outstanding promotion and, just being a football fan, I'd love to see it," Fulton said.
"And I'm sure there's plenty of other people that, as long as the t's are crossed and the i's dotted in relation to getting it together, would love to see it also.
"The players from both codes would also love to be involved in a game of this stature."
While both codes will undoubtedly have their prejudices about pushing forward with the game, the money involved might make it impossible to ignore.
Both the codes are currently exploring new ways to supplement their income.
The recent world economic downturn has also bitten hard, with rugby sponsorships dropping by more than $1million among some Australian provinces.
The ARU also has several "black holes" in next year's schedule brought about by the British and Irish Lions tour to South Africa. Because the Lions are touring, the British nations - Scotland, Wales and England, as well as Ireland - will not be touring individually, ruling out any tours to Australia.
The "Hybrid Twelve" would sell out ANZ Stadium, drawing a gate upwards of $8million with local and international television rights on top of that.
Still, for all the financial benefits Franks knows a lot must happen before contracts are signed.
ARL chairman Colin Love supports the hybrid match in principle, while ARU chairman Peter McGrath will speak to O'Neill about it this week after being told about it on Sunday.
Another obstacle for the ARU is that it would have to receive IRB approval.
"I want both of these parties to embrace it and get the politics out of it so they will see the benefits to their codes," Franks said.