Make this the last Origin in Melbourne
182 Have your say
Art by James Brennan at jamesbrennan.com.au
As you load the fridge, order some pizza and buckle up for Origin XXXII, kindly pause and ask yourself the following question: “Would I care if tonight’s State of Origin game was the last to be hosted by the city of Melbourne?”
Personally, I am sick of our game being pimped out to the Victorian Government only to see it used and exploited as a tool for tourism.
The code’s administrators insist that some Origins must be played in Melbourne to “spread the gospel” and let the fans in the nation’s south see league at its most competitive, compelling and ferocious best. From where I sit, that’s a load of old jockstraps.
Victorians, Melburnians, whatever you want to call them, have never embraced the 13-a-side game and probably never will. The pig-headed media down there (and I speak of the newspapers, radio and television), refuse to give it a decent go. Sporting capital of Australia? Pffft.
This week’s build-up to the 2012 series opener has been pretty much non-existent in Melbourne. And when there was a chance of some media hype for the big event, the Victorian Minister for Sports and Recreation grabs a microphone and refers to ‘Paul Callen’, ‘New Zealand’ and ‘the State of the Origin series.’
Nice work, Mr. Delahunty, head honcho of Australia’s so-called “sporting capital”. At the time he was either nervous or ignorant. You be the judge…
We are told tonight’s crowd at Etihad Stadium will be a sell-out 53,000. Sounds pretty good but it’s estimated only five to ten percent will be local born-and-bred Melbourne people.
The bulk of the gallery will come from Queensland and NSW visitors and as well as a few thousand Kiwi natives who appreciate the game and happen to be based there.
Having this game is terrific news and a major boon for the local hotel, restaurant and casino owners. It’s all good for the Vics and a heavy downer for league fans, young and old, north of the border.
The Victorian Government knows how to look after the locals and has done some recent posturing about hosting games there on an annual basis. I say, enough is enough.
There is next to nothing in it for rugby league (almost as much as the Melbourne media coverage).
In Sydney, the game has reached a time when it needs every showcase game it can get to attract and enthral its audience. The AFL has setup shop in western Sydney, there’s a new A-League soccer team getting ready to launch in the same region and what does our ruling body do?
Send one of its precious jewels to a place where the game is almost without an identity.
Brisbane could have used another Origin game as well. The place is league-mad from head to toe even allowing for the serious presence of its championship-winning Roar and Reds.
Fair dinkum, members of the Blues and Maroons teams could rob banks down south without masks. They would never run the risk of being identified.
No, I have had more than enough of Origin in Melbourne.
Blues coach Ricky Stuart is on the same page as me, publicly stating his reluctance to take games down there as it seriously disrupts the preparation of both teams.
This annual sporting ‘war’ belongs to the people of Queensland and NSW. How many two-party wars do you know of that are fought on foreign soil? Hostilities take place on either one side’s turf, or the other.
Let us have our annual infestations of cockroaches and cane toads. All three of them.
Victorians can be content with their blinkers, their false sense of sporting importance and their Delahuntys.
Artwork by James Brennan at jamesbrennan.com.au
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