NEXT month's State of Origin Bushfire Relief Match could be the catalyst for permanent representative football, according to Richmond coach Damien Hardwick.
Speaking for the first time after being announced as the Victorian coach for the clash at Marvel Stadium on February 28, Hardwick conceded he had changed his opinion on State of Origin.
HELPING HAND How your club is aiding the bushfire relief efforts
"If you had have asked me this time last year, I'd probably say no. (But) sometimes things can have a really deep impact, and this might be the start of something," Hardwick said.
"The amount of players we've seen put up their hand for a significant cause is really important.
"It might not be every year, it might be every four years, I'm not exactly sure. It's in the players' hands, they're the ones who've got to get out there and play."
Hardwick will coach against an All Stars line-up led by Sydney coach John Longmire, with the pair restricted to a maximum of three players per AFL club across the two playing lists.
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The 2019 premiership coach said he had one player first on his list at the selection table.
"Oh, Dustin (Martin)," Hardwick said.
"I'm really looking forward to meeting the other players, you do see them around, but you don't have the day-to-day connection with those guys.
"I know Paddy Dangerfield, but it'd be good to know him a little bit better, Scotty Pendlebury and those types."
Hardwick said dual premiership forward Jack Riewoldt had put his hand up to play for the All Stars – but may have a fight on his hands to become one of three Tigers eligible.
"It'll be interesting, some of the players who will be available, Jack, Shane Edwards, to name a few, are going to be important for them as well."
Tickets for the State of Origin match will go on sale from Tuesday January 21 at 12pm AEDT with entry also including the NAB AFL Women's curtain raiser between Collingwood and Melbourne.
Junior prices start from $10 and adults from $20 and will be available from Ticketmaster.
Match-day experiences are also available for auction via here including watching from the coaches' boxes, sitting on the interchange bench and becoming the team's drink steward.
All funds raised will go directly to the Community Relief Fund set-up by the AFL to assist with local football clubs repairing facilities torn about by the national bushfire crisis.