State of Origin robbing Storm of their players
Mercurial Billy Slater for the Melbourne Storm in the NRL (Image: AAP)
Can just one Origin fan justify losing Billy Slater to us Storm fans? Since moving to the beautiful city of Sydney five years ago, I have done my best to get into the league spirit and culture.
I follow pretty much every sport, but growing up in Melbourne leads you down a very different sporting path to that of Sydney folk.
I have been to a dozen Tigers matches at Leichhardt oval, despite being an avid fan of the Storm. I live in the inner west so this is my local team, and I must say I do love watching the Tigers, in particular Benji Marshall.
I went to the 2009 grand final, seeing my beloved Storm win the premiership, only to have it and their 2007 premiership stripped because of salary cap breaches. All of this I can handle – just!
What I can’t handle and perhaps never will is seeing one of our players representing a state which I have no interest in, risking it all when it is the Storm who are paying a vast amount of Slater’s yearly wage. It is the Storm along with all their fans which have to watch their star players risk everything with no reward for them whatsoever.
I can’t think of one competition in the world which asks this of their clubs and fans. I really can’t, so I want someone here to justify to me why I as a Melbournian (who is trying so hard to love this game in a foreign city), should care about NSW and Queensland potentially destroying the one thing I am interested in; the NRL premiership!
How is it you can have a code which has the pinnacle of its season culminating in a three match series disrupting a third of the NATIONAL competition which represents only two states?
Billy Slater, Copper Cronk and Cameron Smith were all out prior to game one, along with game two. The Tigers defeated the Storm last week while the Storm was deprived of probably the three finest players in their respective positions in the land. The Tigers were only asked to release their captain, since their best player in Benji Marshall is not eligible, thus giving the Tigers a significant advantage.
Excuse me for saying, but this is just rubbish! I am furious and I have left it a few days before writing this article to let my emotions settle somewhat.
Billy Slater has been ruled out with a PCL injury, which in all likelihood will rule him out for four to six weeks. He has no chance to run on it, which means it will take most likely a further two or three weeks to get back to match fitness.
I can tell you now, if you do not find yourself in the top four under the new finals system, you will most likely have no chance of winning the premiership. If the Storm continue to drop games because of this Origin series and more players become injured, this seriously jeopardises their ability to challenge for the premiership.
The argument that all teams have the same issue does not hold weight, so I don’t want to hear it. Most teams are in NSW and Queensland, so if you people want your players risking themselves for a cause you love so be it.
Us Melbournians don’t and I personally can’t wait for the day the Storm refuse to release their players to a state we care nothing for.
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