Leila McKinnon, NRL.com
We all watched the bone jarring intensity of Origin reach another brutal level on Wednesday with awe, excitement and a kind of guilty enjoyment.
But imagine if that was someone you loved being slammed into with a force that threw him into the air higher than anyone thought 100 kilograms could travel without being hit by a truck.
It was a display of force, determination, and grit that was watched by one particular group of supporters with thumping hearts and trembling pride.
No not Ricky and Mal and their assistants but the mums and partners of those rampaging warriors.
They had plenty to be proud of and 80 minutes in which to fear the next slamming shoulder-charge would be the one seeing their little boy stretchered off.
As the Courier Mail reported, by the end of the game, “Corey Parker and Billy Slater were heading off to hospital. Justin Hodges was limping. Brent Tate had a knee bandaged. Petero Civoniceva was about to have his face stitched. Ashley Harrison had red marks on one side of his face.”
This week celebrates the contribution to the NRL of all women who love the game. There are the community volunteers who give League its solid foundation among children in parks and fields across Australia, the fans, the female players, reporters, administrators, and the mums who enroll their little boys and girls in junior teams.
Women give so much to our game.
And it is the mums who are so often the source of the steely strength in our favourite players and the support that gives them the courage to face down critics and charging props alike.
The NRL mourned with Robbie Farah this week with the passing of his mother Sonia, just a few days after she watched him play his greatest game at the top of his sport in Origin II.
She wasn’t in the stands as she wanted Robbie to believe, but in hospital watching from her bed with ragged nerves and a heart bursting with pride.
Robbie told the Daily Telegraph, “she just told me how proud she was.
"She said she was a nervous wreck, which is usually the case when she comes to the game anyway."
Sonia Farah showed as much strength and determination on Origin night as her son to overcome her pain and impending mortality and support him play by play. She showed a steeliness that her son will also need in the days, weeks, years and games to come as he faces the world without her.
So in this Women in League round we all say thank you to the mums. To Nathan Hindmarsh’s mother Fiona who never let him quit. ''There were times when I wanted to give up on things because it was too hard, or because I thought it wasn't the right thing for me; but Mum told me to stick at it,” Hindmarsh said last year.
“She was right. There's times when you lose, but it's good to know you at least gave your all.''
To Petero Civoniceva’s mum Tima who rarely saw him play as she worked extra shifts as a hospital cleaner to raise money to send him on footy tours.
“I could probably count on one hand the amount of times she saw me play junior football because she was always working.
''Like all kids, you grow up wanting your parents to watch you play footy but I knew that she was working to support myself and my two younger sisters. I know she gets a lot of satisfaction when she sees me running out on the field now.''
To Luke Burt’s mum Kerrie who sent her scrawny little fella out on the field against much larger opponents with one very useful and slightly concerned piece of advice.
"Making his debut, Luke just looked so small to everyone else. I remember before the game, all I could say to him was 'darling, be sure to run'."
Like their boys these mums are warriors in their own way and in this round that turns pink for all the women of league we salute you.
Remember you can access all the team lists, live scores and stats from the Women in League Round on your mobile. Visit m.nrl.com on your mobile device, or download the free updated 2012 Official NRL iPhone App (where there’s live streaming radio available too).