An AFL fan’s guide to Origin

Dane Eldridge Columnist

By Dane Eldridge, Dane Eldridge is a Roar Expert

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80 Have your say

    State of Origin returns to Melbourne tonight, the latest in rugby league’s crude attempts at redress for the Greater Western Sydney Giants.

    How much longer can Victoria’s number one sport withstand these constant advances of the Origin juggernaut? Or is laneway art popular enough to withstand the attack?

    And of greater concern, what about the state’s fledgling start-up of AFL?

    Can Melbourne’s football code withstand the irresistible pull of transcendent names like Jai Arrow, Angus Crichton and the unmistakable Kalvin Waters?

    More State of Origin 1
    » Six talking points from New South Wales’ Game 1 victory
    » NSW WIN! Baby Blues too good for Queensland at the MCG
    » As it happened: Re-live Origin 1 with our live scores and blog
    » WATCH: Josh Addo-Carr scores an unbelievably good try to seal the result
    » WATCH: Tom Trbojevic’s superb high-flying try

    While Victorians would usually call upon a Dylan Napa to download music or a Trbejovic brother to settle a debt, you have to concede their attitude towards league is not what it once was.

    This is due to two factors: the Melbourne Storm, and because Origin continues to re-emerge in the city like a fierce case of herpes for which there’s no ointment, only abstinence.

    So, thanks to these viral insurgences of beefy league, Melburnians are now as familiar with the code as an organically sourced deconstructed goldfish milk macchiato served in a hammock and priced on the menu without a decimal point.

    Billy Slater runs the ball for the Maroons in State of Origin

    Billy Slater makes a break at the MCG. (AAP Image/Julian Smith)

    There’s no doubt, the Vics really love their rugby. So why do they need this insulting guide to a game they already intimately know?

    Because this year, Origin is different.

    With the Maroons taking the field minus a host of Victorians like Cameron Smith, Cooper Cronk and Billy Slater, the team is virtually unrecognisable because it’s made almost entirely of Queenslanders.

    In addition, they don’t have Johnathan Thurston, confidence, a full team, or even goal kickers. Kinda like Carlton, only with sleeves and an aversion to cutlery.

    As for NSW, they have picked yet another side poised to break Queensland’s 450-year reign, except this time there’s a break with tradition because it could do so by scoring.

    Everything in Origin in 2018 is so overhauled, even the new jerseys are unidentifiable and misleading.

    Gone is the gratuitous beer sponsorships, with the Blues strip now deceivingly branded with a law firm (implying they are innocent), and the Maroons a superannuation fund (implying Queenslanders have jobs).

    Taking the foreigners out of the Maroons and the doubt out the Blues is like taking the Dangerwood out of Geelong or the halitosis out of Collingwood.

    But have no fear – tonight’s Origin does possess a familiar, AFL flavour.

    Greg Inglis once was introduced to Essendon, James Maloney has apparently seen a Sherrin online, while Jack de Belin once met a Sharon online, who apparently looked like a pack-a-day Johnny Platten. So, thankfully, the loyal Melbourne media can still thrill us with 150 ‘which AFL club could win Origin?’ pieces.

    But, best of all, you petty Victorians can now forget your tenuous ties to the Storm superstars and finally side with the state most relatable both geographically and culturally – i.e. the ones who don’t brush their teeth with a possum on a stick.

    Nowadays, Sydney and Melbourne are practically cultural sorority sisters, especially when you consider an inhabitant like Reagan Campbell-Gillard. He’s already promised to kill someone, but it was a metaphor – so he’s technically a poet. Just like most of Fitzroy.

    Plus there’s new coach Brad Fittler, a greenie tripper who loves tai chi and walking around barefoot to soak up nutrients. Basically, he’s stuck in the mid-2000s, which was the last time the Blues were any good and when Dermot Brereton’s hairstyle was only a decade out of date.

    Brad Fittler

    Brad Fittler (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

    Synergies, girlfriend.

    And even if you detest Origin, at least consider the benefits to local tourism.

    Fans from NSW and Queensland will be flocking south with their spending money, all in the hope of spotting some of your famous street culture like a stunning art deco piece or Brendan Fevola wearing a fake penis.

    So forget the low-scoring congestion of your chosen game, because Laurie Daley isn’t coaching anymore. Do yourself a favour and buy a ticket to the Origin opener, because the NRL can’t fudge a crowd without a crowd.

    Finally, don’t forget: in rugby league, the officials are to blame for everything. So you fans don’t have to beat the crap out of each other after the match again, just like those damn soccer hooligans.

    Dane Eldridge
    Dane Eldridge

    Dane was named best and fairest in the 2004 Bathurst mixed indoor cricket competition. With nothing in the game left to achieve, he immediately retired at his peak to a reclusive life ensconced in the velvet of organised contests. Catch the man on Twitter @eld2_0.

    Getting hassled by a parent or partner about spending too much time playing video games? Now, you can tell them the story of how some ordinary gamers scored $225k for just seven weeks of work.

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    The Crowd Says (80)

    • June 6th 2018 @ 6:27am
      Kurt said | June 6th 2018 @ 6:27am | ! Report

      i can tell by you cynical article. you dont want the origin in melbourne. why? its sport.
      trust me most people north of the border dont want it down there, enjoy it if you want to, and if you dont want to enjoy it, dont watch it, simple.
      i think you need to dig a little deeper if you think anyone up here takes GWS seriously

    • June 6th 2018 @ 7:35am
      Onside said | June 6th 2018 @ 7:35am | ! Report

      DONT GO. Stay home and watch the contest on TV. If it was played at a rectangle ground
      designed for the sport, I would recommend attending.

      The playing surface of the MCG is 171m x 146m . A rugby league pitch is about 100m x 68m .

      The MCG is a huge OVAL stadium, so most customers will be at least 75m away from the
      boundary line, much further from the play.

      The rugby league pitch is not in the centre of the MCG , (TV broadcast- more costly seats)
      so customers on one wing, will be seated over two widths of the pitch and more from play.

      Subsequently most people will spend most of their time ‘miles’ away from play, watching
      the game on massive screens at the ground.

      May as well stay home and watch in in comfort.

      • June 6th 2018 @ 7:47am
        Alan said | June 6th 2018 @ 7:47am | ! Report

        Or you can go and enjoy the atmosphere…

        • June 6th 2018 @ 9:03am
          Onside said | June 6th 2018 @ 9:03am | ! Report

          I like SOO, so my remarks could read like a boxing gloves behind the bunch of roses.

          But the game, along with union and soccer, deserve rectangular grounds ,where fans
          are right on top of play, not a massive oval stadium.

          I’d love for every sports fan in Australia to experience a SOO game at Suncorp Stadium.

          Now that’s atmosphere.

      • Roar Guru

        June 6th 2018 @ 8:30am
        DingoGray said | June 6th 2018 @ 8:30am | ! Report

        It’s a touch line

      • June 6th 2018 @ 8:50am
        lesterlike said | June 6th 2018 @ 8:50am | ! Report

        Have to agree, the MCG is good at what it’s built for, AFL and Cricket but it’s a dump for anything else. Watching either code of Rugby or Soccer there is a tremendous waste of money.

        It’s a shame that any big event from any of those codes played in Melbourne has to be wasted at the MCG.

        • Roar Guru

          June 6th 2018 @ 11:41am
          Mango Jack said | June 6th 2018 @ 11:41am | ! Report

          ANZ in Sydney shares the same configuration problem, but none of the history and atmosphere.

          • June 7th 2018 @ 8:46am
            KenW said | June 7th 2018 @ 8:46am | ! Report

            ANZ is a multi-purpose stadium, neither rectangular nor a true oval. You don’t have to like it, there’s plenty of valid reasons not to, but it very clearly does not have the same configuration problem as the MCG.

            For a 20 year old stadium it actually has chalked up historic moments at a pretty amazing rate too just quietly.

    • June 6th 2018 @ 7:36am
      AR said | June 6th 2018 @ 7:36am | ! Report

      Having invented the concept of Origin, I think many Victorians may feel a nostalgic twitch at this event.

      Having also dispensed with the concept of a Origin 20 years ago, many more may wonder how on earth this hokey charade is still relevant.

      In any case, it seems of mutual benefit:

      – Victoria gets a handful of northern tourists to spend their hard-earned on food, coffee, art and museums…instead of the usual diet of XXXX, burger rings and pokies.

      – and the ARLC gets to feel “National” for a day, whilst playing in a stadium more than half full.

      Everybody wins!

      (except NSW)

      • June 6th 2018 @ 8:39am
        jimmmy said | June 6th 2018 @ 8:39am | ! Report

        Hokey charade .? Perhaps Australia’s greatest annual sporting contest . Yeah that’s a better fit.

        • June 6th 2018 @ 9:06am
          Justin Kearney said | June 6th 2018 @ 9:06am | ! Report

          As usual Origin will dominate the annual tv ratings. Top rating show last year. No wonder AR hates it!

          • June 6th 2018 @ 9:34am
            On the Ball said | June 6th 2018 @ 9:34am | ! Report


            “Having invented the concept of Origin, I think many Victorians may feel a nostalgic twitch at this event

            The AFL failed dismally at the concept! The AFL just don’t get the passion of SoO. To Bad! So Sad!

            • June 6th 2018 @ 10:17am
              IAP said | June 6th 2018 @ 10:17am | ! Report

              The AFL had the passion for state of origin. It died because the game got professional; the clubs wouldn’t release their players for it in case they were injured. It’s a sad state of affairs when a professional competition is held up by a grudge match where teams are playing for nothing but pride.

              • Roar Guru

                June 6th 2018 @ 11:44am
                Mango Jack said | June 6th 2018 @ 11:44am | ! Report

                That’s precisely what’s great about it. Players would turn out for free. It’s completely over-hyped but I love it. Get on board!

              • June 6th 2018 @ 1:46pm
                Rod said | June 6th 2018 @ 1:46pm | ! Report

                To be fair you could apply that logic to any sporting contest . If the fans can see the players are passionate about it. It will be embraced by the people.

            • June 6th 2018 @ 1:58pm
              KFish said | June 6th 2018 @ 1:58pm | ! Report

              The AFL failed miserably at SoO because it succeeded in being popular in more than two States…

              • June 6th 2018 @ 3:59pm
                RandyM said | June 6th 2018 @ 3:59pm | ! Report

                you mean, WA, SA, NT and TAS? which combined still have less people than QLD.

          • June 6th 2018 @ 10:53am
            clipper said | June 6th 2018 @ 10:53am | ! Report

            No, that is incorrect, Justin.
            This is the official list of top rating shows each year since 2001
            I know you will not like it and disagree, but it’s there in black and white.

            Year Program Network Rating Ref
            2017 2017 AFL Grand Final Seven 2.72 million [28]
            2016 2016 AFL Grand Final Presentations Seven 3.20 million [29]
            2015 2015 AFL Grand Final Seven 2.64 million [30]
            2014 2014 AFL Grand Final Seven 2.82 million [31]
            2013 My Kitchen Rules Seven 3.27 million [32]
            2012 The Voice Nine 3.33 million [33]
            2011 The Block Nine 3.37 million [34]
            2010 MasterChef Australia Ten 4.03 million [35]
            2009 MasterChef Australia Ten 3.72 million [36]
            2008 2008 Summer Olympics opening ceremony Seven 2.82 million [37][26]
            2007 2007 AFL Grand Final Ten 2.56 million [26]
            2006 2006 Commonwealth Games opening ceremony Nine 3.56 million [26]
            2005 2005 Australian Open – Men’s Singles final Seven 4.04 million [26]
            2004 Australian Idol Ten 3.34 million [26]
            2003 2003 Rugby World Cup Final Seven 4.02 million [26]
            2002 Test Australia: The National IQ Test Nine 2.78 million [26]
            2001 2001 Wimbledon Championships – Men’s Singles Nine 3.04 million [26]

            • June 6th 2018 @ 11:42am
              Justin Kearney said | June 6th 2018 @ 11:42am | ! Report

              That’s 5 city metro clop as explained to you dozens of times

            • June 6th 2018 @ 1:07pm
              Kurt said | June 6th 2018 @ 1:07pm | ! Report

              the info you got is from wikipedia.
              now from a more reputable spot media week.

              The third State of Origin Rugby League match takes out the title of the No. 1 sports program of 2017 with a national average audience of 3.709 million (5 City: 2.523m/Regional: 1.185m)

              • June 6th 2018 @ 3:02pm
                clipper said | June 6th 2018 @ 3:02pm | ! Report

                Yes, NRL people will reference another site, but on many other reputable sites it’s still not SoO at No. 1.
                At least you didn’t try to say the NRL outrates the AFL by 50% on paytv!

              • June 6th 2018 @ 4:07pm
                RandyM said | June 6th 2018 @ 4:07pm | ! Report

                Even if you use the metro 5 city ratings the NRL still gets 4 games a year in the top 20 programs, the AFL has just 1, but it tries to pass off that 1 as 3 separate programs – LOL

              • June 6th 2018 @ 11:00pm
                In Brief said | June 6th 2018 @ 11:00pm | ! Report

                Does anyone trust TV ratings? I’ve never been surveyed and don’t watch most of the ‘most watched shows’. I just don’t believe you can extrapolate from a small group. Seems like a massive con to me. Only ratings I trust are Foxtel as they are linked to the actual viewer.

              • June 7th 2018 @ 10:32am
                Justin Kearney said | June 7th 2018 @ 10:32am | ! Report

                By the way clipper a couple of things.

                1. The nrl is outrating afl this year by just under 50% on STV;

                2. State of origin attracted 3.54 million viewers last night. Massive ratings and yes people do exist outside the 5 metro areas; and

                3.when it comes to ratings you are mathematically challenged!

                Kind regards as always


              • June 6th 2018 @ 3:12pm
                PinkPanther said | June 6th 2018 @ 3:12pm | ! Report


              • June 7th 2018 @ 4:01pm
                clipper said | June 7th 2018 @ 4:01pm | ! Report

                RandyM – never commented on how many games get into the top 20, and I’ve posted a few times that I don’t agree with channels splitting the GF into separate events – but if you note the ratings you”ll see the NRL does exactly the same thing – splitting SoO into pre, match, and post rating periods.
                Justin – what is STV – last time you claimed the NRL outrated the AFL by 50% on Pay TV and you were proved wrong – are you now trying to backtrack? Metro figures are the industry standard – when regionals and metro get combined to become industry standard then you may claim all you like. The figures were just about the same as game 1 last year.

              • June 7th 2018 @ 5:11pm
                Justin Kearney said | June 7th 2018 @ 5:11pm | ! Report

                You poor poor man clump. Where was I proved wrong on paytv aka STV? You seriously don’t have any idea do you?
                And by the way just relying on metro figures is just a pathetic attempt by you to divert from the fact rugby leagues state of origin is Australia’s biggest tv bonanza.
                I haven’t backtracked from anything as the figures prove I am right and you are wrong as pointed out to you in multiple forums by multiple people.
                Just grow up and get over it clap.

              • June 8th 2018 @ 9:28am
                clipper said | June 8th 2018 @ 9:28am | ! Report

                Justin – I posted the paytv figures, supplied by another league follower, that showed NRL does get better figures than the AFL, but they are not 50% better. I’ve done it once, will take too much trouble to find it again, but you are wrong, but you could post a link for once that proves your point.
                As stated multiple times, metro figures are industry standard. When they sort out overlaps, missing areas etc and provide precise figures then metro and regional might become industry standard, but they are not now.

              • June 8th 2018 @ 11:13am
                Justin Kearney said | June 8th 2018 @ 11:13am | ! Report

                Nrl Ratings on STV are over 245000 this year and afl 170000. That is a huge difference but I’m sure you have an excuse for this,

                As for relying on only metro, that is just excuse making as well You afl types just can’t handle the fact origin rates do highly,

                State of origin is the highest rating tv show this year and pretty much every year.

                You really need to get over it.

              • June 8th 2018 @ 2:48pm
                cliiper said | June 8th 2018 @ 2:48pm | ! Report

                Couldn’t open the link. As shown, the SoO has officially not been the top show since 2001. It could well be this year, we’ll have to wait and see.

              • June 8th 2018 @ 2:52pm
                Justin Kearney said | June 8th 2018 @ 2:52pm | ! Report

                You are a sad sad man clump. Get help. Hating a sport so much you have to resort to this is pathetic.

              • June 9th 2018 @ 2:42pm
                duecer said | June 9th 2018 @ 2:42pm | ! Report

                To be fair to both sides, I think the figures JT supplied are probably correct. However, he failed to note that the NRL starts earlier than the AFL and therefore has got 2 whole rounds of ratings included in that total, so they should be ahead – it would be like saying the A league had more viewers than the AFL and NRL from Jan to March. The real question is: are they ahead 50% week by week?

      • June 6th 2018 @ 10:59am
        RandyM said | June 6th 2018 @ 10:59am | ! Report

        origin is an amazing marketing tool for League, it builds up these players profiles and the Victorians will learn their names – Regan Campbell Gillard, Cameron Munster etc. The AFL is really missing out not having Rep games. I realise a state of origin concept wouldn’t work in AFL now but having some kind of Representative fixture is the best way to get people in NSW and QLD to become familiar with AFL stars who are not Buddy Franklin or Gary Ablett jnr.

        • June 6th 2018 @ 6:24pm
          AR said | June 6th 2018 @ 6:24pm | ! Report

          “The AFL is really missing out not having Rep games.“

          Oh definitely.

          The AFL will never become the biggest, richest, most attended and watched sporting competiton in Australia without Rep games.

          Those Victorians will have to stick with Trugo.

          • June 6th 2018 @ 7:05pm
            Kurt said | June 6th 2018 @ 7:05pm | ! Report

            key words in that phrase ‘in australia’

            • June 7th 2018 @ 10:24am
              clipper said | June 7th 2018 @ 10:24am | ! Report

              just like the key words when mentioning the NFL is the biggest game is ‘in America’

              • June 7th 2018 @ 10:48am
                Justin Kearney said | June 7th 2018 @ 10:48am | ! Report

                Last night burned you badly clump didn’t it? 366000 Melbourne viewers? You must be ever so thrilled! Hahahaha

              • June 7th 2018 @ 11:09am
                clipper said | June 7th 2018 @ 11:09am | ! Report

                Melbourne people will always watch an event. Lets see what crowds and viewers they get for the Storm this week – remember, and this burns you, that they still can’t get a bigger average than the worst performing AFL side there – even after all these winning years.

              • June 7th 2018 @ 12:05pm
                Justin Kearney said | June 7th 2018 @ 12:05pm | ! Report

                Nothings burning me mate it’s a great day. The day after Melbourne truly embraced origin. Place was on fire last night. Stew in your misery clump. Just keep writing about the game you despise so much!

              • June 7th 2018 @ 1:28pm
                BigQ said | June 7th 2018 @ 1:28pm | ! Report


                Comparing apples to apples

                The Storm has the second best crowd average in the NRL and the 4th best membership in the NRL.

                The Swans are way down that list in the AFL in both crowds and membership in the AFL.

                So comparing apples to apples.
                The NRL is doing a lot better in Melbourne than the Swans, GWS, Lions and GC Suns are in the northern part of Australia.

      • June 6th 2018 @ 11:13am
        paha said | June 6th 2018 @ 11:13am | ! Report

        Hilarious how some people just can’t celebrate a big sporting event without projecting their own insecurities XD

      • June 7th 2018 @ 8:51am
        GoGWS said | June 7th 2018 @ 8:51am | ! Report

        I think it’s more accurate to say that WA invented the origin concept, not Victorians… the whole ‘origin’ idea was to redress the longstanding inequity of WA born-bred players showing up at interstate carnivals playing for the big V. In its genesis State of Origin is actually an ‘anti-Victorian’ idea. The first origin game was at Subiaco oval in the 1970s (‘76 or ‘79) and it was a massive crowd and hugely popular all through the 70s and 80s up to the introduction of West Coast Eagles. Adelaide Crows etc. Rugby League copied the concept and it has been a longer term success for various reasons. Good for the NRL.

    • June 6th 2018 @ 7:47am
      Paul said | June 6th 2018 @ 7:47am | ! Report

      I reckon there should be quite a few Victorians going for NSW this game because they’ll have a player whose name they can spell – JAC.

    • Roar Rookie

      June 6th 2018 @ 8:02am
      Austin Jones said | June 6th 2018 @ 8:02am | ! Report

      I don’t think that the NRL is in any danger of taking over Victoria, despite the fact that Melbourne has the best team in the comp and has had for a decade now. Origin at the MCG makes absolutely no sense and onside described, its not like Suncorp Stadium where you are on top of the action, your going to a fair way away from the action which is pointless. I have seen league games played on AFL field and the crowd is so far away from the action, its pointless to even bother going.

      Plus being in Geelong, if you were to ask someone about the Storm, they would say. “what storm? the weather is fine”.

      While the Storm maybe popular in certain places in Melbourne, it certainly has not effected the rest of the state.

      GO THE MIGHTY CATS !!!!!!!!

      • June 6th 2018 @ 8:34am
        Kangas said | June 6th 2018 @ 8:34am | ! Report

        Maybe the nrl could take origin to Tasmania or next stop Shanghai

        Maybe they could have origin x. With no tackling 😳

      • June 6th 2018 @ 9:32am
        ja ja klazo said | June 6th 2018 @ 9:32am | ! Report

        Except you’re in Victoria, so the weather wouldn’t be fine.

        • Roar Rookie

          June 6th 2018 @ 9:55am
          Austin Jones said | June 6th 2018 @ 9:55am | ! Report

          Well that would depend on your opinion of fine weather, being in Geelong, a good day is terrible weather pretty much anywhere else, maybe except the west coast of Tasmania.

      • June 6th 2018 @ 11:12am
        jimmmy said | June 6th 2018 @ 11:12am | ! Report

        There is a team called the Cats. Wow.

        • Roar Rookie

          June 6th 2018 @ 11:40am
          Austin Jones said | June 6th 2018 @ 11:40am | ! Report

          What’s wrong with a team called the Cats? Don’t let the name fool you Premiers, 07,09 and 11 and runners up in 08. (despite it being the worst choking in AFL history)

          • June 6th 2018 @ 11:04pm
            Molly said | June 6th 2018 @ 11:04pm | ! Report

            Mate, when are you gunna return my leather jacket?

    • Roar Guru

      June 6th 2018 @ 8:32am
      DingoGray said | June 6th 2018 @ 8:32am | ! Report

      “In addition, they don’t have Johnathan Thurston, confidence, a full team, or even goal kickers. Kinda like Carlton, only with sleeves and an aversion to cutlery. ”

      Be careful Dane, those pesky Carlton supporters may take to you with a piece of cutlery after that line

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