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NSW humiliated Queensland for 18 years - no wonder the Blues can't match their special breed of hatred

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Roar Guru
15th May, 2024
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1916 Reads

Why are NSW people always so desperate to prove that they “get” Origin, and that Origin means as much south of the Tweed as it does north?

Origin will never mean as much to NSW as it does to Queensland. There, I said it.

State of Origin was born off the back of long standing NSW dominance in interstate rugby league. In 66 series played up to and including 1981 Queensland managed just 11 series wins to New South Wales’ 49, with six drawn.

The QLD Maroons celebrate after winning game two and the series after the ARL State of Origin match between the Queensland Maroons and the New South Wales Blues at the Melbourne Cricket Ground May 31, 1995 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Sean Garnsworthy/Getty Images)

The QLD Maroons celebrate after winning the State of Origin series at the Melbourne Cricket Ground May 31, 1995 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Sean Garnsworthy/Getty Images)

Coming into 1980 Queensland hadn’t won a series for 18 years. The head to head count in that time was 56-4. That sort of foot on the throat obliteration would be enough to breed a special type of hatred. If you thought eight in a row was bad (well it was), imagine 18 years of humiliation. We can’t match that.

Speak to a Queenslander and it’s even worse. Queensland’s best players were drawn south by the irresistible lure of filthy poker machines. As a result, sky blue teams were flooded with Queensland stars, who would soundly thrash their poor, underfunded Maroon cousins.

Never mind those tales are largely apocryphal, they lit a burning blaze of oppression and resentment in the hearts and minds of Queensland supporters.

As soon as Artie Beetson led his rag tag team of wily veterans and up and coming stars of Queensland’s generation to victory in 1980, Origin was truly born. With it vindication of Queensland’s hatred towards NSW.

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I may be exaggerating slightly. Maybe not. The point is that Queenslanders come to Origin with an emotional payload that NSW fans – certainly of my vintage – can’t possibly understand. It means something to them that it can’t possibly mean to us. That’s not an excuse. I love Origin and am desperate to see NSW win each year. I just acknowledge it doesn’t mean as much to me as it does to most Queenslanders. But neither does playing the banjo.

Maybe some Blues fans are shaking their heads and clenching their fists thinking, “just because you don’t get it, doesn’t mean that I don’t!”

Well answer me this, if you had to choose, would you rather see your NRL team win the competition this year or NSW win Origin? I’ll start. I’d trade five Origin series losses for one Bulldogs premiership. That’s just where bidding starts.

Now the Queenslanders? *crickets*

Ever since those early days and the vision of Maroons screaming “QUEENSLANDER!” as their carrion call for greater effort, NSW has been desperate to prove we “get” Origin. Screaming “NEW SOUTH WELSH PEOPLE!” probably expends more energy than it exhorts. The best we came up with was “CATTLEDOG”, which may be further evidence we don’t get Origin.

Whenever a new player is selected for NSW, we have a host of current and former stars tell us how he’s “built for Origin”. We don’t really see Queenslanders doing that. Whether it’s Big Artie or Adam Mogg, they have a true next man up mentality that there’s a job to do and you’re a Queenslander – so get it done.

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How much time do we Blues fans spend arguing about Origin selections. Arguing for our club’s players to be picked. I heard someone say the other day “if that’s the team they pick, I’ll buy a Maroons jumper and start drinking XXXX.” Admittedly he was a Parramatta fan responding to my team with three Bulldogs in the backline.

Can you imagine a Queenslander saying something like that? Wait, what? Of course they wear Maroons jerseys and drink XXXX. That’s not what I meant. I meant wear a Blues jersey and drink Reschs. Whatever. Me either. Queenslanders put state first and will cheer their boys home regardless of what club they play for. Maybe that’s why they’ve only won one NRL title in the past 17 years. No, you can’t count the Storm.

So what’s the answer? NSW needs to stop trying to come up with a pale imitation of Queensland culture. We’re not them and will never be them. Our motivations aren’t the same, but because Queensland’s culture and identity has been so prominent (I mean, they never shut up about it, right?), we try and impersonate it.

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - JUNE 08: Maroons captain Daly Cherry-Evans and Maroons head coach Billy Slater celebrate victory after game one of the 2022 State of Origin series between the New South Wales Blues and the Queensland Maroons at Accor Stadium on June 08, 2022, in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)

(Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)

So what’s the answer? First, we need to stop worrying about who the underdog is. Nine times out of ten, it will be Queensland. They know it, we know it. They’re in our heads and we’re playing into their hands as soon as we start arguing about it. They’ve usually got players in their team who wouldn’t make NSW thirds.

Queensland can be underdogs. We know we’re favourites and we expect to win.

Sure, Queensland has gone ok in interstate footy since 1980, but that’s just a window in the history of the game. The overall ledger is still well and truly bathed in blue. NSW is the dominant power in interstate rugby league.

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When a player pulls on a NSW jersey, he should know that he’s beaten out the elite of the game to win his spot, not fallen into it because he’s the only player available in his position. No offence Cavill Heugh, Mike McLean and Adrian Brunker.

Queensland loyalty? Funny how so many sold out, so cheaply with the sound of poker machines ringing in their ears. Loyalty, pfffft. Has a NSW player ever turned coat like that? Well I won’t mention Greg Inglis or Israel Folau. That’s different.

We’re Apollo Creed, not Rocky Balboa. We should be dancing onto the field to James Brown tunes (admittedly, that didn’t turn out so great for Apollo, but you get my drift).

To create our own culture, NSW needs to leave the fake modesty behind and embrace the hubris, not shy away from it. Leave the fireside stories of inequity and injustice to the Queenslanders. We’re winners, and if not, we can always say we don’t really care and get back to the real competition.

#embracethehubris

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