The 2020 season may not be a year that Queensland fans want to remember, even if they play an Origin series or not.
Sam Thaiday reckons Queensland’s recent State of Origin dominance deserves a documentary. Not the worst idea, although the format might be tricky.
An hour-long TV special? Too short to cover a whole decade. A two-hour feature length doco might do it justice, not to mention clean up the box office north of the Tweed.
Personally I’d prefer a 15-hour Ken Burns style fifteen-episode investigation. Interview all the players, officials and ball boys since 2006. Review each and every game in depth, especially noting how close New South Wales got until a careless penalty or dropped ball from a lazy forward put Queensland back on top. Chuck it on Netflix (or whatever streaming service Channel Nine uses these days) and I’ll binge on it every weekend.
But why stop at a documentary? Why not a ‘based on a true story’ movie? Or even just a plot ‘inspired by true events’ if you really want to spice up the drama. I’m sure Mal Meninga could draft a script with plenty of (unsubstantiated) ‘rats and filth’ smack talk. Then again, some of the New South Wales selections over the last ten years have seemed pretty inspired – by what hallucinogens exactly, we’ll never know.
The only problem is deciding what to focus on. Winning ten out of eleven series is an achievement but does start to get a little predictable, story wise. The 52-5 thrashing of Game 3 2015 probably wouldn’t get a family rating, too violent for young eyes.
Similarly, the cameo appearance of a portly, yet surprisingly speedy streaker in the final moments of 2013 might not get past the censors.
I admit Cooper Cronk’s field goal in 2012 provides a thrilling climax but who could argue with a movie detailing Darren Lockyer’s farewell celebration in 2011? I still tear up thinking about Johnathan Thurston returning to the field in a wheelchair after the game.
Someone else can make the movie about the Blues’ win in 2014, but even that looks more like an aberration than a triumph these days.
Ultimately though, if I had to pitch a film about Queensland’s State of Origin success, I’d focus where it all began: 2006. It writes itself. A new coach with a team of underdogs, aging champions told to perform or they’ll be dropped, unlikely heroes and villains (I’m looking at you Adam Mogg and Brett Finch).
And in the end, one defining moment – Lockyer’s intercept pass to seal the game, setting up every triumph to come. I’ve got goose bumps just thinking about it. Now give me $50 million and I’ll make it.