Why Tallis’s Cherry-Evans smackdown could help Manly’s cause

Jack Byrnes Roar Rookie

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    We’ve heard it all before: when Arthur Beetson put one on the chin of his Parramatta teammate and good friend Mick Cronin at Lang Park back in 1980, State of Origin was born.

    The imaginary border between New South Wales and Queensland suddenly became tangible, and the east coast of Australia was divided along state lines.

    Queensland in particular developed an inflamed sense patriotism that has since rendered the Maroon jumper an almost sacred commodity. A defining feature of the Queensland spirit is the sense of tribalism that turns Caxton Street into a hostile environment for anyone wearing blue in the weeks and possibly even months leading up to Origin. Wear maroon, however, and you’re family.

    At the same time, names like Lewis, Gillmeister and of course Beetson have become synonymous with royalty when you head north of the Tweed. Another Queensland legend who’d be flat out is Gorden Tallis – the Raging Bull.

    One of the toughest and most brutal players to ever grace the game of rugby league, Tallis would often go to another level when he had a maroon jumper on his back. Who could ever forget that tackle on Brett Hodgson during the 2002 State of Origin series?

    Over the years Tallis came to embody everything Queensland rugby league was about – indeed he carried that trademark Queensland spirit onto the field every time he played. Or so we’re told.

    As his media career continues to develop and grow post-retirement, we’re starting to realise that the much revered Queensland spirit we hear so much about might not be so watertight after all.

    Twice already this season Tallis has come out and openly slammed a fellow Queenslander Daly Cherry-Evans, a guy who has worn the Maroon Guernsey six times. So much for looking after their own.

    Worry not, however, because the animosity apparently stems from the infamous backflip DCE performed on the Gold Coast Titans back in 2015. That’s right, Tallis has written off a fellow Queensland player, because he turned his back on a corporate entity owned by the NRL that didn’t even exist when Tallis retired.

    It seems it all comes down to their precious geographical location. Give me a break. Where was the Bull’s ferocity when another Queenslander, Josh Papalii, turned his back on a deal with Parramatta in 2013?

    While it’s difficult to disagree with Tallis’s comments regarding DCE’s form at Origin level, you’ve got to feel for a guy who fosters an entirely different style of play to the meticulous brand of football Queensland have developed and executed so brutally over the last 11 years. To rip off Einstein, a fish is useless if you ask it to climb a tree.

    One group of fans who won’t at all mind seeing Cherry-Evans dragged through the mud by Mr Queensland himself, however, are those on the Peninsula.

    Remember when DCE was accused by Tallis of showing a lack of interest before Manly towelled the Cowboys earlier this season? Those remarks may have turned Daly’s career around. Similar remarks were again made this week by Tallis, who claimed that the manner in which DCE reneged on his deal with Titans upset the king Wally Lewis himself. The resentment couldn’t have been more obvious.

    When Manly play the Titans at CBUS Super Stadium today, Cherry-Evans will lead his Sea Eagles out onto the ground that he apparently turned upside-down two years ago. Don’t be at one bit surprised if he rips it up all over again.

    So cheers for that, Gorden.

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