Will Artie’s aura be the difference tonight?
Artie Beetson while playing for the Roosters - (Image: Artie Beetson official site)
With impeccable timing, the magnificent bronze stature of Artie Beetson was unveiled at Suncorp yesterday.
The Immortal joins another Immortal in Wally Lewis and Immortal-in-waiting Darren Lockyer to adorn the entrance for tonight’s blockbusting Origin decider against NSW.
And for posterity.
The entire Maroon squad was there for the unveiling, among a crowd of roughly 5,000 paying tribute.
Not that the Maroons need any additional adrenalin pumping for tonight. They have that in bucketloads.
But the big bloke, Queensland’s original Origin skipper in 1980, holds a very special place in the hearts of all Australian sports-lovers.
How Artie would have loved to be there tonight. He died of a heart attack in December last year, aged 66.
But his aura lives on. Don’t think for one moment Maroons coach Mal Meninga won’t play the Artie Beetson card to the max tonight in the shed before kick-off.
And he’ll include Lewis and Lockyer as well who will both be on ground live interviewing for Channel 9, right in the thick of it.
Origin kicks off a live television bonanza tonight in four sports:
Origin 3 – on Channel 9 from 7.00pm to 10.20pm, with a replay on Fox Sports 2 from 10.30pm to midnight.
The situation is well-known: the Maroons after a record seventh successive series, NSW desperate to stop the rot.
Wimbledon – on Channel 7 from 11pm to 4am, and Fox Sports 3 from 8.30pm to 6am.
Men’s quarter final night – Novak Djokovic-Florian Mayer, Roger Federer- Mikhail Youzhny, Andy Murray-David Ferrer, and Jo-Wilfred Tsonga-Phillip Kohlschreiber. The smokey is Spaniard Ferrer.
Tour de France – on SBS with stage 4 of 214ks on the flat from Abbeville to Rouen from 10pm to 2am. Highlights tomorrow morning from 7.30 to 8.00.
See super Slovak Peter Sagan (22) in action, the youngest to win two stages of three at the Tour, and Australia’s defending champion Cadel Evans trying to bridge the gap with yellow jersey leader Fabian Cancellara. Evans in 17 points adrift in sixth place.
And ODI 3 – on Channel 9 between England and Australia at Kennington Oval from 11.00pm to 2.30am and 3.00am to 6.00am.
Having lost the first two of five, the Australians must win tonight to stay alive. If the Australians lose 5-0 England will leap from world number four to take over as number one. England is already number one in Test rankings, and Twenty20.
What a night, like no other.
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