The debate around State of Origin eligibility always brings out the best, chest-thumping, passionate, patriotic beast in all of us. Well not the best, or beastly, but you know what I mean.
And the recent article by the always popular Tony leads to the obvious next step: a questionable analysis of Queensland Origin eligibility. The basis for this weak theory is a hand-picked team of NSW-born players.
As a New South Welshman, there’s no doubt in my bitter, traumatised, anti-northern mind that Queensland forever cheats and breaks the rules by picking guys born in the premier state.
Queenslanders, justifiably and smugly, just sit back and mock this pitiful outrage while reflecting on Greg Inglis’ Maroon-soaked domination.
Melbourne-born Timana Tahu, Peter Wallace and Dean Pay would agree that this situation is a farce.
Sure, there is an eligibility criteria and definition of ‘origin’. All very well documented and explained and easy to follow.
But who wants that? Come Origin, logic goes out the window, emotion replaces rationality, and we just want to see the biff brought back.
Just like when Samoan-born John Hopoate swung wildly at teammate Danny Moore at the MCG.
So here is what could barely be described as a fair and reasonable exercise, bringing some reasoned investigation as to why Queensland are big, blatant cheaters.
And as we know cheaters… never win? Well, cheaters win most of the time in Origin.
Oh, don’t start blowing up at me just yet, Queenslanders. You’ll have plenty of time for that.
Just read the team of Queensland players born in NSW:
1. Robbie O’Davis (Kurrajong)
2. Mat Rogers (Sydney)
3. Greg Inglis (Kempsey)
4. Paul Bowman (Newcastle)
5. Israel Folau (Minto)
6. Julian O’Neill (Hornsby)
7. John Dowling (Murwillumbah)
13. Billy Moore (Tenterfield)
12. Matt Gillett (Macksville)
11. Sam Thaiday (Sydney)
10. Christian Welch (Sydney)
9. Wayne Bartrim (Hat Head)
8. Tino Fa’asuamaleaui (Orange)
14. Scott Sattler (Camperdown)
15. Michael Crocker (Auburn)
16. Chris Flannery (Cowra)
17. Norm Carr (Coffs Harbour)
Coach: Barry Muir (Tweed Heads)
Great Blues team this one, I’m sure you’d agree.
I had to pick John Dowling at half due to the lack of a genuine NSW-born number seven (happy to be corrected). And John-not-Greg will be lining up against Toowoomba’s Peter Sterling, with Gold Coast’s ‘Captain America’ Steve Rogers at six.
Or Rogers in the centres and Ipswich lad Luke Keary the five-eighth. You’d be hard picked to find a better Queensland/American Ipswich connection.
See, Queensland? You claim that you own Origin. That ownership claim is on the back of the efforts of these Blues turncoats.
So come Wednesday night just before kick-off, you should harness your inner Billy Moore and shout out loud and proud, ‘Tenterfielder!’
Makes you wonder: would this team have played as well or achieved as much playing for NSW? Don’t be daft. Of course not.
In the early days, Queensland had Wally Lewis. And Wally was Origin.
They also started that annoying Queensland habit of always claiming underdog status (NSW countered unsuccessfully with Cattledog).
Queensland always found a way to win. Queensland fought above their weight for years until they got a team for the ages … and we don’t need to relive that. Just ask Bundaberg-born Ken Nagas.
The farcical efforts of Queensland selecting those hatched in NSW is best summed up by Origin historian, eligibility expert and Blues legend Benny Elias.
Benny once bemoaned, “If those blokes are Queenslanders, then I‘m Swedish.” Benny was a great footballer, but lousy at geography: he was born in Tripoli, which is in Lebanon.
If anyone was qualified to talk about Lebanese-Origin eligibility, it’d be Benny. Or Hazem El Masri, who was also born in Tripoli.
Benny’s Swedish claim gains further credit when you consider some of the true Blues he spilt blue blood with during Origin.
Think Ian Roberts (born in England), Mario Fenech (born in Malta) or Brisbane-born Chris Johns in the backs.
See? Yet more examples of the Elias theory that Queenslanders experience a chronic form of statewide Stockholm Syndrome.
And don’t even start me on those born overseas who claim to be eligible for Queensland Origin. It’s a joke. James Tamou, Willie Mason, Aku Uate and James McManus often laugh out loud about it.
So that settles it then. When it comes to deciding who is eligible to play State of Origin, it’s never black or white: it’s always Maroon.