For those of you who missed it, Tevita Pangai Junior was slapped with a five-week suspension on Tuesday evening as a consequence of his crusher tackle on James Maloney in the final stages of Brisbane’s 24-12 victory over the Panthers.
Every good hero needs a strong villain.
They’re a yin to our yang. Seemingly opposite forces are in fact complementary, interconnected, and nay, inseparable. The concept strikes at the very core of our human condition.
Their famous struggles resonate through history – think of Moses and Ramses, Harry Potter and Voldemort, the Terminator and T-1000. My maroons have their blues.
So, what makes a strong villain? Well, the archetypal villain is your memorable antagonist. Loathsome and reviled, they hold a mirror to our heroes – jamming back in our face all their strengths and failings, all their fears and motivations.
They challenge us to question why we’re so righteous, and why they’re so evil.
And what’s my issue, I hear you ask. The Blues are the Blues, and to a Queenslander, isn’t their evil self-fulfilling? Well, yes, to a point.
New South Wales stole our players, undermined our game, and impose their tyrannical rule like some sort of anaemic inbred monarchy. But that there’s visceral hate, you see, and Origin’s more primal.
It used to be clear-cut – gone are the days when the blues was full of card-carrying half-wits. Origin was our Christmas in July, and, as the Caxton street carol used to go:
“You know Carney and Graham and Ennis and Dugan,
You know Birdy, and Jennings and Fergo and so on,
But do you recall, the most famous bell-end of all…”
Spoiler alert: It was Gallen.
They were the last in a long and uninterrupted lineage of loathsome individuals – stretching right back through your Geoff Tooveys, to your Mark Carrolls and Bennies Elias’. Those were the days. It was them and us. Good and evil. Their loss was our nourishing annual schadenfreude.
But what of the current crop? I just don’t know. Sure, I don’t like them because they’re blues, but there’s no single focus for my game-day vitriol.
In short – they’ve got no bona fide villains. To be honest, I actually like watching Josh Addo-Car, Jimmy the Jet, and Tyrone Peachey. Hell, I’ll even grudgingly pay tribute to Boyd Cordner’s game. And Reagan Campbell-Gillard, has there ever been a nicer prop?
Where’s your deranged Patrick Bateman from American Psycho, Anton the psychopath from No Country for Old Men, or Ivan Drago in Rocky V? The closest run is Gus Gould’s commentary – which is about as one-eyed as a trouser snake. He plays his Jabba the Hut cameo quite well.
And this is why I’m starting a grass roots campaign. It’s called #bringbackthevillains – because the plot of Origin III needs a much-needed saviour. Our maroon heros need a strong blue villain.