Who are we to question passion in State of Origin?
Nate Myles gives the thumbs up during State of Origin One. AAP Image/Action Photographics, Brett Crockford
Passion is a hotly contested word in the media at the start of every State of Origin series. The same debate does the rounds annually on who has the most passionate supporters, who has the most passionate players and ultimately who will bring pride to their state for another year.
Although it is seemingly an easy word for the armchair critic to use as ammunition in a debate with a mate down at the local pub, the word itself cannot legitimately be awarded to any one team.
The State of Origin cauldron is a place like no other, maybe only comparable in its aura to Ancient Rome’s Colosseum and just like inside the Colosseum, blood is spilt by the players with no regard for their safety. To suggest that any player who takes the field does not have passion for their state is a fallacy.
Let’s take Robbie Farah as an example, from the second match in this year’s series. Here is a man who has been stabbed in the back countless times by selectors, a man who was tagged “not built for Origin” and “never to play Origin again”. His Mum lay on her death bed giving Robbie Farah every legitimate reason to pull out of the game and yet the fire burnt so bright inside of him for NSW that not only did he play, but he pulled off a record 62 tackles in a tireless effort when his mind would be forgiven for being elsewhere.
Turn back time 20 years and another NSW hooker Ben Elias is famously seen with his mother after winning game one, with blood covering his face from a wound which required 10 stitches to close.
From Michael De Vere’s famous staple gun incident to the 1997 ‘Cattle Dog’ brawl, you only have to begin to skim the top of State of Origin’s surface and you will find countless incidents from the highlight reels.
To say one team has more passion than the other is disrespectful to the players who have represented their states for the past 30 years and disrespectful to the fans who have wholeheartedly supported these players.
Game three is nearly upon us and should NSW win, pride will be restored to a battered state. A victory to Queensland will ensure another chapter is added to a State of Origin legacy that this great game will never forget.
The passion of a person can not be gauged, but rest assured you will have 34 men who will leave nothing on the field when they go in to battle to represent the state and the fans that they love.
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