With the NRL’s State of Origin ramping up, so too have talks surrounding the AFL’s lack of a similar tournament with many past players calling for its return after 25 years. 

Brian Peake played 16 games in WA’s representative side between 1977 and 1987 – captaining the side during four of those years. 

An Australian Football Hall of Fame inductee says playing in State of Origin was the pinnacle of Aussie Rules Football back when it was a regular fixture. 

Speaking on Sports Breakfast, Peake says it is a great concept and representing WA was an honour. 

“Playing against the Vics in the state of origin, it was the pinnacle because we had the best players from WA playing against their best and we won our fair share of them,” he said.

“That was the ultimate pinnacle. Representing the state is a great honour.

“With the guys we played with, it was just fantastic to show our ability against the Vics which, they’re always number one they reckon. When it comes to the best of the best we outdid them.”

Western Australia and Victoria have a long and fierce rivalry tracing back to 1977 in which they faced off in the first State of Origin match 1977 – winning by 94 points. 

Nine years later, the two states came head to head in 1986 to play in what is widely regarded as one of the greatest games of Australian Rules Footy which saw WA defeat Victoria 137-134. 

Reflecting on his playing days, Peake says there wasn’t a big step up between the WAFL and VFL and disagrees the VFL was the stronger competition.

“I think we had to stand it up to their VFL at that stage when I played,” he said.

“We had some good players for East Fremantle, all across the WAFL. That’s why they came and raided WA to take the best

players out. 

“When they say it’s a stronger competition, in my day, I don’t agree with that. We played some games against South Fremantle and all the other teams who were probably up, if not better, than what I’ve seen in the VFL in the winners. 

“It can’t downgrade what we were, and if we weren’t that good or a good competition, why do they come and raid and take all the players away?” 

Peake was briefly lured to the East Coast for 66 games at Geelong in the VFL between 1981 and 1985 – captaining the side in 1982. 

Once those years were up, he returned to East Fremantle where he stayed until 1990 before moving to Perth for a brief 10-game appearance before retiring as one of two WA players to have hit the 400-game milestone.

Peake admits he was a ‘lazy trainer’, and lived for the Saturday games which contributed to his longevity.

“I did a lot of surfing, I even surfed before the games even in Geelong and here,” he said. 

“I hated training. I even told Toddy that I went to night school when I was an apprentice. I just wanted to miss training. 

“He (Coach Alan Joyce) said you just better be ready for Saturday. I said I’ll tell you one thing, the only thing I look forward to is Saturday.” 

“I was a plumbing gas fitter as an apprentice, digging holes and doing block drainages and up and down ladders. I was always buggered by the time I got the training, 

“I thought the only way to get a game was to play well each Saturday.”