I cannot be the only person who didn’t do anything but sit on a couch, watch State of Origin III and feel exhausted. The emotional rollercoaster that our sport rugby league can provide is in my opinion, unmatched.
I am sitting in a team camp with the Exiles rugby league side in Leeds, England, cheering for the Blues with Origin legend Steve “Beaver” Menzies sitting beside me. At the conclusion of the game, he is in awe of the speed at which the game is played, and he doesn’t just mean running. Beaver talks about the crisp passing of the football, the change of direction of the ball carriers and the ridiculous athleticism of the outside backs in chasing down breaks but also launching skywards to collect contestable kicks.
Queensland must be stoked that they have Greg Inglis. Nate Myles was huge and deserved accolades for his contribution over the three match series, but the Maroons lost the world’s best player, and replaced him with Greg Inglis, who single-handedly tormented NSW players trying to tackle him for the entire 80 minutes. I am a fan, and thought he was the difference over the three match series between two evenly matched teams.
The Blues and Queensland provided a thrilling decider to complete the series. I can only assume that some of these players will take weeks to regather themselves for club footy. The mental and physical investment our representative players make in one of the world’s great rivalries ensures that each year more heroes and stories are embedded in Origin folklore.
Ricky Stuart and Mal Meninga have also added to the rivalry with cut and thrust in the media and both are to be congratulated. State of Origin 2012 is completed with Queensland winning their 7th consecutive series. As a Blues fan, I am a little disappointed, but 6 weeks ago, I wrote about NSW making it uncomfortable for Queensland in this series. They delivered this and then some, but unfortunately no trophy.
I see the logic in arguing for stand-alone Origin weekends, but there is no way this great spectacle will be moved from Wednesday nights. Maybe we need to consider the NRL schedule around Origin (I’m not sure there is a fair way to do this) but in the middle of negotiations for a new television and radio broadcast deal, rugby league can rightly stand on the product and its capacity to transfix the viewer (and listener) and ask for the maximum. The NRL Premiership is a brilliant weekly competition, the State of Origin a jewel in the crown, and international rugby league is rapidly developing its popularity and the coveted role in the totem pole it deserves.
State of Origin 2012, it was our pleasure.