This article follows on from my recent article ‘The Australian coaches dream team‘ and this time I have selected a team made up of some of the great players who have coached either New South Wales or Queensland since State of Origin began in 1980.
Concerns about rugby league’s death have been laid to rest, with the near-fatal collapse of the game no barrier to debating Mitchell Pearce’s halfback spot for the Blues.
Quarantine guidelines reveal that despite the cancellation of football and the interstate concept’s uncertain future for 2020, State of Origin discussion will still qualify during the COVID-19 crisis as an ‘essential service’.
This means speculation is rated alongside supermarkets and booze for critical importance during the crisis, with any interruption likely to “endanger the health or safety of the population” and/or “clicks.”
The news reinforces Origin’s status as an interminable news cycle juggernaut, with its hot takes and petty espionage to be totally unaffected by rugby league’s absence, and the decline of society in general.
For those unaware, the establishment of rugby league in Huddersfield in 1895 was delayed when officials signing-off on the breakaway code were too busy arguing about Ben Hunt shifting to hooker for Daly Cherry-Evans.
Ever since, State of Origin has grown in stature to become an all-consuming topic in rugby league circles, infiltrating discussion to the point the National Rugby League has become New South Wales versus Queensland.
Such is its power, public discourse over the three-game series can literally generate on any platform and in any month of the year, sometimes simply from thin and/or hot air.
In fact, polling shows that actual matches of rugby league rank fifth as a means for driving Origin talk behind Kevin Walters waffle, tabloid filler, awkward silence and traffic in the Congo.
However, many predicted the coronavirus shutdown to finally put a pause on its never-ending discourse, with many forecasting the death to be felt as profoundly as the saga’s other tragedy, the decimation of influencers.
But thankfully this has been avoided, with the public now informed of the uplifting news that you can’t attend your aunty’s funeral but you can chat online about Brad Fittler earthing.
The news couldn’t come at a better time for Originphiles, with the COVID-19 shutdown placing heavy strain on access to basic human necessities like toilet paper and the over-scrutiny of Nathan Cleary.
It will also be welcomed by desperate officials at the NRL, who had resorted to studying Loch Ness Monster tourism packages and Melbourne’s 2007 and 2009 premiership reunions for tips on generating interest in something that doesn’t exist.
With Origin chat now confirmed, focus at headquarters can turn to managing an expenditure crisis which currently sees talent sitting idle on big pay, much like Scott Cam and Aaron Woods 2016-19.
This will also negate the need to stage a makeshift Origin series, with one proposal having the teams meet through the only remaining sterilised means on earth – that being WiFi – with the Coach Whisperer’s ‘enemy who shall not be named’ switching from NSW to the Ruby Princess.
Under the proposal, both Origin camps would’ve been quarantined in a handpicked location free of coronavirus, with South Sudan and North Korea canvassed after being deemed safer than Queensland Origin camp.
This would have been complemented by revised programs for all speculators, with analysts paying forward bolters and administrators resetting the selection fact base to make it even more baseless than ever.
Thankfully, none of this required with Origin debate set to keep bubbling without reason, much in the fashion of most summers and half the tabloid news room.