The Victorian Sports Minister’s Origin review
A brawl erupts during the first half of State of Origin 1 between Queensland and New South Wales at Etihad Stadium in Melbourne, Wednesday, May 23, 2012. (AAP Image/Julian Smith)
After making a right Phil Duke of himself at the official State of Origin press conference on Monday, yours truly thought it would be a nice rugby league peace offering to have the Victorian Minister for Sport and Recreation give Roarers a write up of Wednesday’s game.
The results, well, are more confusing than Sean Hampstead’s tax return. Here goes:
“A Night at Rugby’s League”
It was with a mixture of excitement and trepidation that I approached Etihad Stadium for the seventh ever State’s Origin match.
Excitement, because having been three years since the last time the reds and the blues met, they would be champing at the bit to get on the pitch. And trepidation because of my earlier football faux-pas.
New Zealand! That’ll serve me right for just scanning the front row and locking eyes on that burly debutant with the tribal tattoo. Even my good mate Baz Farrell sunk the slipper in! Once more I apologise unreservedly to the good people of Newcastle, and made sure to purchase a copy of the Age for future reference purposes.
The atmosphere pre-match was exquisite, save for a few unsavoury types calling each other ‘morons’ for whatever reason. That toothy girl from ‘Neighbours’ kept the crowd pleasantly content, before a young fan resplendent in full costume was plucked from the crowd for the National anthem, which she belted out with gusto, if not perfect poise.
I admit I was still a trifle disappointed nobody attempted a Haka (will have to look into that), but not to matter because now it was time to kick-off the tee!
An arm wrestle ensured in a tense opening stanza, before a bombing raid led to Blue Akuma Matate trying in the goals. The try at goal was missed by David Carney, but nonetheless Newtown held early ascendency.
And so it continued, when suddenly from nowhere, a melee erupts! Huzzah! The rumours were true! While dead excited I got a little bit distracted, as a blue fan behind me took this moment to start looking for his cattledog, which I assumed had gotten frightened by the crowd’s huge din.
I was about to offer the poor chap assistance when suddenly I see Blue Michael Jackson ejected from the stadium for unnecessary roughness. The result would prove to be pivotal, as not long afterwards Darius Jedburgh scooted over along the flank. He would repeat this play not long before the big break following a Blue horizontal integration error, to give Queensland a commanding lead.
Half time I admit was a trifle awkward, with the crowd not completely getting into my ‘C’mon Aussie, C’mon’ sing-along (trust me, if New Zealand had been playing it they would have loved it) and I was thankful when we were underway again.
But look out! Who’s this?! Michael Jackson has come flying out of the penalty box over the top of Kelly Slater to detonate another bomb! Two point match! Play ball!
Yet so it remained, despite Newmarket’s best efforts. Dave tried a few more goal kicks, Tony Rex bumped away red coats like a runaway tram and Jamiee Rogers came on for the five minute power play with little ‘lady’ luck.
And so it continued until the final ten minutes when, shut the phone! Greg English from the Bowraville Bombers in the Whitsundays has touchdowned! But hold the gate, playback shows Andrew Farah may have dislodged the ball with his cleats!
Wow! What drama! Huge call for third umpire Harvey Norman, I don’t envy him. Survey says….try! Kicking in danger from Farah! All around me the crowd goes wild. Grown men cry, rubbish rains on the field in an impromptu ticket-tape parade and a cattle dog barks from somewhere behind me.
What a game, what a match, what a night! I must say I’m a complete convert, and I’ll be attending a few Stormers games from here on in.
However I must say it’s just as well they only play these things every few years , I mean, what crazy man could handle such madness annually!
I thank the Victorian Sports Minister for his comments. And you know what Hugh, I think I could even agree with you on that last point.
Follow Chris on Twitter: Vic_Arious@twitter.com
Chris Chard is a sports humour writer commenting on the often absurd nature of professional sport. A rugby league fan boy with a good blend of youth and experience taking things one week at a time, Chris has written for The Roar, Rugby League Player Magazine, US Sports Downunder, the QRL and People. Tweet him @Vic_Arious
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