Are NSW and their fans really whingers?
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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)
In the aftermath of the opening game of the 2012 State of Origin series, it’s become popular practice, particularly north of the border, to label New South Wales as whingers.
The accusation didn’t miss anyone either. It’s been levelled at Blues captain Paul Gallen and his players, coach Ricky Stuart, assistant coach Trent Barrett, ex-Blues players who voiced their opinion, the Sydney media, and of course, the Blues fans.
Even yours truly was labelled a whinger after I wrote last week that the refereeing in game one was appalling.
I stand by what I wrote though, as I believe the officiating wasn’t up to Origin standard. It matters little to me that Bill Harrigan came out and defended his referees on Thursday. Even allowing for Hollywood’s explanations, at best you could call the three decisions in question 50/50 calls.
Everyone accepts that some decisions will actually be 50/50 judgment calls. You just hope you receive 50 percent in your favour. However, zero percent of the three biggest calls of the night went the Blues way.
But enough about the actual decisions from last Wednesday. What’s done is done, and it’s time to move forward and stop the so-called whinging.
So is the label fair? When it comes to rugby league, is it accurate to call New South Welshmen whingers?
The most obvious thing to point out is that sweeping statements, just like stereotypes, are a dangerous minefield to navigate. It’s not wise to pigeonhole an entire demographic.
Yet the easy counter-point is that no Queenslanders are actually doing that. Most Maroons are more or less telling their southern counterparts to accept the referees decision, move onto game two, and stop moaning about Origin I.
Which is a fair point.
However, it’s also an extremely easy position to take when it’s your team that won the game. It’s an effortless decision to take the high road when your state was the beneficiary of the controversial decisions. And above all, you tend to be slightly more relaxed about such matters when you’re riding a 6 year winning streak.
You’re only a whinger if you lose.
Or if you’re Mal Meninga.
In any event, the Queenslanders who have called the Blues whingers this week would appear to suffer from a very bad case of selective memory.
Those who complained about Gallen’s tone and language to the referees last Wednesday should remember that it was fairly tame compared to Gordon Tallis calling Bill Harrigan “a (expletive) cheat” to his face, and subsequently getting his marching orders.
The great Wally Lewis once earned time in the bin for dissent, proving The Emperor of Lang Park was the king of the odd whinge himself.
There are also unconfirmed reports that Bill Harrigan had to have ex-Queensland Maroons captain Adriam Lam surgically removed from his ear after the 2000 Origin series, such was Lam’s penchant for whining for the full 80 minutes.
And, as aforementioned, who could forget Mal Meninga’s almighty whinge after last year’s Origin series, when he went on a rant about rats and filth? It was arguably the greatest Origin whinge of all time.
As for the media, The Courier Mail excels itself when it comes to whinging. Parochial, biased and one-eyed, the propaganda in that particular newspaper would rival anything out of Nazi Germany in the 1930′s.
Yet, all of this is not to suggest that Queensland are bigger whingers than New South Wales.
And I’m certainly not arguing that New South Welshmen don’t whinge either.
Gallen’s post-match petulance after Game III last year still makes me cringe. As does Ray Price’s comment during the week that he would have led the Blues off the park in protest after Greg Inglis was awarded that try.
I’m also reliably informed by Queensland friends when they travel south, that the Sydney media is horribly bias and more than prone to a good old whinge.
I guess that indicates that you hear what you want to hear, and read what you want to read.
At the end of the day, both states are guilty of having a whinge.
My point is that State of Origin arouses intense passion. It stirs serious emotion. And with that passion and emotion comes irrational behaviour, attitudes and comments. After all, there are no more passionate and emotional beings than women, and we all know how irrational they can be!
State of Origin. It’s a time to be biased. It’s a time to be one-eyed. It’s a time when you love to hate your brethren from across the border.
It’s a time to whinge.
Especially if referee decisions keep favouring Queensland.
Ryan is an ex-representative basketballer who shot too much, and a (very) medium pace bowler. He's been with The Roar as an expert since February 2011, has written for the Seven Network and NBA Down Under, and been a regular on ABC radio. Ryan tweets from @RyanOak.