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TWO OF THE game's biggest stars in Gary Ablett and Scott Pendlebury are leading the push to bring back representative football in 2016.

Last week the AFL announced a change to how it would pick this year's International Rules Series team, with only players who have earned All Australian selection eligible.

But the players are keen to regenerate the representative football format, with a 2013 survey of 80 of the game's elite having recorded a unanimous desire to breathe life back into the state of origin concept.

"The [AFL Players' Association] have kept us informed and we've been involved in putting the proposal together, so hopefully we can get it up with the AFL in 2016," Ablett told

"I really enjoyed growing up watching the champions of the game playing together. It'd be great to get the same opportunity, and I'm sure fans would love it too."

Pendlebury is another star player who has not hidden his passion for representative footy.

"I've been a big supporter of this," he told the website.

"I understand it's not without its challenges, and that we need to work through these issues, but I don't think this should stop it from going ahead.

"I'm confident we'll get there eventually and it'll be exciting for everyone involved once we do."