Wednesday 5 june 2013, one of the three greatest days of the year for NRLloving Queenslanders and New South Welshmen: State of Origin. Yes, indeed people: State of Origin.
State of Origin is the annual best-of-three series of the rugby league football matches between the Blues (New South Wales) and the Maroons (Queensland). It is said that State of Origin is Australian sport’s greatest rivalry, one of the country’s and the region’s premier sporting events, and frequently cited as being the highest-level of rugby league played anywhere in the world. The players are selected to represent the Australian state (QLD or NSW) in which they played their first senior rugby league, that’s why the game is called State of Origin. Like every rivalry the two teams have unbecoming nicknames: the QLD Cane Toads, and the NSW Cockroaches.
Even though I’m not that fond of NRL (or AFL), the fact that I’m studying in Queensland, means supporting the Maroons! Not bread and born in QLD, but studied and educated in QLD. Besides one of the star players is Johnathan Thurston, the captain of the Townsville Cowboys. And another nice fact is that QLD has won state of origin 7 years in a row. Will this be the 8th time?
With our Maroon jersey on, we headed to the Riverway tavern. We were there early, but it was still packed! Most people where in there Maroon-jerseys, but there was still a couple of Blues present. This wondered Stefania and me, because coming from European (hooligan) nations, this doesn’t really seem like a “real” rivalry. During the game..well, Queensland played really bad. We lost too, so no happy ending (yet!).
But it was nice to see how the people in the pub behaved towards each other. There was a lot of swearing, middle fingers and booing during the game, but in the end people shook each other’s hands, congratulated each other and the Queenslanders warned the Blues that the next two games and with it the State of Origin-cup would be QLD’s. In the end that is what Real rivalry means: enjoying sports for the game.