I love Queensland. I love the weather, I love Brisbane, I love the Gold Coast, the Sunshine Coast, the Country Towns the northern tropics and countless other things. However, the one time I don’t love Queensland is during State of Origin.
Now before you thrash around claims that I am a Sydney-sider and New South Welshman in disguise, I’m not.
Born and bred in Brisbane, travelled all around Queensland, had holidays on the nearby Gold and Sunshine Coasts and lived in Rockhampton for a couple of years.
I am a sports fan, I particularly love football (soccer). I proudly support my local sides; Brisbane Roar, Queensland Reds, Brisbane Lions and Queensland Bulls.
But there is something about the Queensland rugby league that doesn’t click with me.
I don’t have anything against rugby league, I actually played the sport a few times in my school years, and watch it on television.
But there are some serious attitude problems that don’t sit with me in terms of the Broncos and Queensland Maroons.
I started to pay attention to State of Origin in 2002. The forst Origin game that i watched from start to finish was the epic 18-18 draw in game 3, 2002. I remember yelling my head off at Dane Carlaw, egging him over the line.
It was a great moment and I was proud to be a Queenslander. The next three years was difficult as a newly converted fan of Queensland rugby league.
I became aware of a certain New South Welshman called Andrew Johns who I openly despised. We had no answer to him in the first two games of the series of 2003, and he would always pull something out of the bag.
I was ragingly jealous of the New South Wales fans. We would end up losing that series.
The next year, hopes were up again and at 8-8 in game one I was praying that Lockyer could pull something out of the bag. Sadly, it didn’t eventuate, and a forward of all people in Shaun Timmins would score a drop-goal.
We won the second game, and I had my mates around to watch the third game. Another crushing defeat, some old veteran called Brad Fittler charged Lockyer down to score a try at the death.
Wasn’t Lockyer one of the best in the competition? Anyway, even the best can have a rough day.
The next series I heard that Johns was out of game one, giving us a huge chance.
With the game locked at 20-20, up popped a little Matty Bowen with an intercept, YOU LITTLE BEAUTY! The trophy coming back to us at last! But no, Johns was back for origin two and three and to be frank he dominated those two matches better than anyone I’ve ever seen, and it still remains.
2006 State of Origin. Brett Finch won the first match with a field goal, bringing back haunting memories of Shaun Timmins a few years earlier.
However, Queensland stormed over New South Wales in the second match and confidence was high leading into the third.
Late in the game, a stray pass pops up into Lockyer’s arms and we win!! Amazing, finally a win!
However, since then my allegiance in rugby league has changed, here are the key moments attaining to that change:
– Game 2 2007. Queensland win after a blatant forward pass is allowed for the match and series winning try.
Yet for reason there is no mention of it in the Courier Mail, or the importance it had in the series.
– Game 1 2008. After New South Wales are comfortably the better side in a surprise victory in the opening game of the series, Mal Meninga can only complain that New South Wales weren’t back the ten and the referees need to blow more penalties.
– Game 2 2008. The referees do exactly that. The same referee who officiated the first game blows a 11-3 penalty count. Meninga clearly influenced the referees with his post match whinge.
– Game 1 2009. Jarryd Hayne is controversially disallowed a try in the opening minutes of the match. The video referee looked at the replays for at least two minutes then ruled no try.
The fact is, if they are going to need to look at a decision for that long there is clear doubt. Hence it is a benefit of the doubt try. It would have shot New South Wales out to a possible 8-0 lead, with confidence high.
Queensland went on to win the game with a very solid display. Queensland media label New South Wales a bunch of whingers.
Highly ironic considering the nature of the decision and the fact the Meninga clearly complained about decisions the series earlier.
– The infamous game 3 2009. New South Wales ended up winning the game but it would be the final two minutes that would forever be remembered. This game is probably the largest contributor to my change of allegiance.
The ‘Dog Act’ calls from Queensland were embarrassingly incorrect and showed both arrogance and ignorance. Steve Price knees Brett White in the head during a tackle in the 78th minute, causing White to get pretty annoyed with him.
They are both at each other’s throats and start swinging. White knocks Price out cold he is then fallen on by Trent Waterhouse. Upon watching the video it becomes obvious that Waterhouse was going to try and separate them.
However Price was knocked out just as he arrived collapsing underneath him, giving the impression that Waterhouse tackled him.
Yes, Waterhouse should have been more focused on separating his own player however, there was nothing cheap about the whole incident, as the knockout blow was administered by White who Price was fighting.
It was the next part of the match that was about cheap shots.
Cameron Smith bombed the ball up, with fullback Kurt Gidley bravely claiming the ball. With the ball in the air, Thaiday tackled a New South Wales player from behind, resulting in him being sent off. Tackling someone from behind; that’s a cheap shot.
Gidley caught the ball and was then seized upon by four Queensland players, who were all punching him.
Four-on-one against a fullback who had done nothing wrong; that is what known as cheap. Creagh was also sent off in the resulting scuffle.
The Courier Mail’s claims of cheap New South Wales were pathetic and untrue. From this game on, I was to follow the NSW Blues.
– Origin 1, 2011. The pre match discussion was embarrassingly arrogant from Queensland.
The whole “we’ll smash them” attitude was pretty immature. As usual, Meninga would have a pre-match whinge to the referees, begging them to keep it clean and prevent any dirty tactics from NSW.
Instantly, the referee is then expecting dirty tactics from NSW, which is what Meninga hopes to achieve.
An entertaining game takes place, but it isn’t without the usual head scratches in favour of Queensland.
Josh Dugan is tackled in the air – that’s a penalty – but nothing from the refs. The first pass in the second half is called forward, replays show it was flatter than a pancake.
Cameron Smith then proceeds to throw every second pass forward without any punishment.
So there you go, the last five years of pathetic one-eyed-ness, arrogance and ridiculous favouritism has been enough to turn a passionate Queensland fan into a New South Wales fan, even at a time when it would seem to be mighty attractive to be a Queensland fan.