It was a history-making night in Townsville on Wednesday, with the regional centre hosting its first execution of a sacred cow since the sacking of Neil Henry.
State of Origin was announced dead on the QCB Stadium turf at approximately 10:10pm on the night in question, the concept’s lifeless corpse found crushed beneath disappointment and Tom Trbojevic’s stampeding boot.
With New South Wales’ 50-6 blitzing of a second-rate Maroons exhuming long-held fears this concept is nothing but boys against elitist men, it signalled the romance of the contest had left this world forever – for the 124th time.
For those uninitiated, the Blues’ rapid ascension to an unassailable 1-0 lead is the latest in Origin’s long history of faking its own death. But unlike the 123 times previous, this time it’s for real.
As such, the famed interstate construct was laid to rest in an impromptu service chaired by Pastor James Bracey before a congregation of rum-sedated mourners, its tombstone etched with the following:
“Here lies the remains of Origin, the holy fixture ruthlessly desecrated before its Far North acolytes amid breathtaking sadness and palatial stadium WiFi. RIP: Pending legals.”
While burying Origin after one shellacking was described by some as premature, there really was no other option. Mainly because Annastacia Palaszczuck figured if she couldn’t give Townsville a fair contest for the fixture’s $8 million price tag, she should at least give them a state funeral.
State of Origin’s passing is a stunning fall from grace for the interstate behemoth, especially after it was declared to be in rude health following a nauseating backs-to-the-wall win for the Maroons in 2020.
But while it proved it could survive the rigours of rule changes and Covid-19, it seems the concept has again shown it cannot withstand its kryptonite: a meek Maroons. And to a lesser extent, a head shot crackdown. And Kyle Feldt.
Early signs indicated the night was set to deliver a fateful blow when the Blues shot out to 20-0 lead, and once the Maroons’ only points came from Kurt Capewell outstripping Tom Trbojevic for agility, we knew something grave was already occurring.
From there, the Blues broke from tradition by not having a bad player on the park, with every walkover try for Brad Fittler’s men nailing Origin’s coffin shut with pins extracted from invisible grenades.
Queensland were powerless to stop the rot, with health authorities even calling upon contact tracers to locate a roving Tommy Turbo after he took it upon himself to humble the entire Queensland side, including bench and strappers.
What resulted in Townsville in the aftermath was scenes of absolute carnage, with the Maroons camp resembling a war zone of browbeaten and broken spirits – and that was just Tent City.
But with Origin flatlining again, the question must be asked: what exactly causes the four horsemen to descend on State of Origin?
Other than being helmed by a Stefanovic, Origin is usually accused of jumping the shark whenever both New South Wales and Queensland reach the base level of their pantomime profiles, and/or Choppy Close goes berko.
With the Maroons finally delivering a performance of integrity and honesty – that being, by claiming underdog status and actually playing like it – and New South Wales living up to their own hype, the concept’s narrative has been fully realised, and thus is no longer deeply satisfying for Queensland or advertisers.
From here, Origin can only be revived via two methods: a stirring triumph by Queensland at The Cauldron, or Mal Meninga picking an imaginary fight with the Daily Telegraph.