"The Big V." "The Vics." Victoria. Even now, over 15 years since a genuine State of Origin game was played in the AFL, the mere mention of "The Big V" is enough to get this ex-pat Victorian excited. The term brings to mind such greats as Garry Lyon, Greg Williams and Robert Harvey. Memories of Gary Ablett and Tony Lockett stalking the same forward line. An honour that was so great that Richmond's Dale Weightman considered his equivalent of finals football. Then, of course, there is E.J. Ted "Mr. Football" Whitten was representative football's most vocal champion.
Sometimes we need a novelty, though. State of Origin gave us that rare chance to see the cream of the crop playing for the same team. Of the 28 players I've selected below, only four have represented their state at AFL level. Even as juniors most of these players would only have represented Vic Metro or Vic Country, never Victoria. The only "Big V" they've known is either a pale blue on navy, or a navy blue on white.
While it may not be on the agenda for the AFL, or even most players and supporters, I can guarantee that if any of these men had the chance to pull on "The Big V" on the MCG, they would jump at it.
B: Heath Shaw (GWS Giants) Tom McDonald (Melbourne) Josh Gibson (Hawthorn)
HB: Robert Murphy (W. Bulldogs) Michael Hurley (Essendon) Luke Hodge (Hawthorn)
C: Robbie Gray (Pt. Adelaide) Scott Pendlebury (C'wood) Patrick Dangerfield (Adelaide)
HF: Dylan Shiel (GWS Giants) Jarryd Roughead (Hawthorn) Trent Cotchin (Richmond)
F: Jamie Elliott (C'wood) Jeremy Cameron (GWS Giants) Jack Gunston (Hawthorn)
Foll: Todd Goldstein (Nth. Melb.) David Mundy (Fremantle) Dan Hannebery (Sydney)
Int: Callan Ward (GWS Giants) Dane Swan (C'wood)
Sam Mitchell (Hawthorn) Luke Parker (Sydney)
Emer: Shane Mumford (GWS Giants) Steele Sidebottom (C'wood) Jack Steven (St. Kilda)
Brett Deledio (Richmond) Josh Kennedy (Sydney) Luke Dahlhaus (W. Bulldogs)