I’ve never read the Book of Revelations in which the signs of the coming apocalypse are detailed, however I’m pretty sure that amongst the plagues of locusts and rivers of blood there was no talk of a Queenslander coaching NSW.
Or in correct parlance, a f***ing Queenslander, and I’m sure none of my northern brethren will take offence because they call us much worse….from birth….by law.
In the aftermath of the Blues fourth consecutive series defeat there has been plenty of soul searching (including from yours truly) and the proposals for salvation have swung from the sensible to the wild and back again pretty quickly.
But one that keeps cropping up is that Wayne Bennett should be handed the reigns, this even before I’ve seen a bloke marching up and down Pitt St ringing a bell and wearing a sandwich board pronouncing “The End of the World is Nigh”, unless “Golf Sale” has taken a new meaning.
Bennett? A Queenslander?? In charge of the Blues?!? No No NO.
It is so wrong on so many levels. It is even worse than letting Kiwis play.
In case my feelings have been made clear as yet, let me put it simply. I don’t care if NSW lose the next 50 series, the team, coaching staff, management and even the beer they drink which causes the next mass outrage all should come from NSW lock, stock and barrel.
I mean, this is State of Origin.
This is Big Artie Beetson taking the Crow’s head off, this is beer cans being hurled at Mick Stone after he sin bins the King, this is the Steve Mortimer collapsing after the Blues first series win, this is MG and the King squaring off all before Michael O’Connor lands one from the sideline, this is Mark Coyne’s miracle at the death. You get the picture.
But there is also one other image of Origin which is burned into my mind, probably my most cherished Origin moment. It was when Sparkles McGaw chases the ball down at Lang Park and looks to have got it down just inches before the dead ball line.
The camera flashes up to the stands and there is a youthful Bennett screaming “Oh No! No!”
But the whole of NSW rose as one as the referee pointed to the spot (he was correct too).
No change in the geo-political climate would therefore justify that man suddenly cheering on a Blues try. Sure, he did it for New Zealand, but this is rugby league, State of Origin means so much more than some petty international squabble.
Sure this is 2009, coaches send their CVs all around the world, even bloody Warnie talks up his wares and jokes about talking to the ECB, players play for countries and yet don’t speak the language.
Sure, the entire concept of the nation state is being whittled away so they we are slowing becoming just one homogenous mass and nationalism that is now largely just a marketing tool for large multi-national corporations, who have no national ties themselves, so they just sell us more jerseys and tracksuits and hats which are all identical to another countries except for the colour.
McSport rules okay.
But if there is one issue I’ll grab the pitchfork and man the barricade for it is the State of Origin.
I’m sick to the back teeth of having the likes of Choppy Close sticking his face into the camera and raving on about Queensland passion. I’m sick of all the jokes about the Axe and Alf having a few too many in camp after Mal decided they’d all had enough of training.
NSW needs to walk down to the harbour, christ knows it is the fastest way to get there, and have a look at the Opera House and Harbour Bridge and get a bit of pride back into itself.
Or as it sits in some traffic jam caused by all the roads being closed so we use a toll-way or waits for train to arrive while listening to City Rail apologise for the delay, it should think about what it is to be from NSW. Think about Tommy, Blocker, Junior, ET and Joey, think about state pride.
Then tell Wayne to enjoy his filthy lucre from Kogarah because that is the only cash from this side of the Tweed he is getting.