Why I Fucking Hate Origin

I recently penned a piece about the joyous relief of letting one’s self devolve into a bile-spitting drunken lunatic during State of Origin, and indeed argued that it was perhaps a necessary outlet for your (and your family’s) ongoing survival.

Well now, two games in and with the series effectively over, I’m experiencing the come-down. The guilt that comes after a particularly aggressive wank – or eating Macca’s. I also fully expect to contradict myself, so please, don’t go back and read the initial article.

My guilt and disgust have little to do with my own behaviour (for once). Apart from a few expletives hurled at my own television, I was a model citizen during the first two games. My shame is a direct result of the games themselves and the circus that has surrounded the entire series thus far.

In fairness, the first game was pretty good. Tough footy, with a bit of razzle dazzle and overflowing with heroics. The ‘best ever’, as some claimed? Well maybe not, but it was up there. The fall out afterwards is when it got ugly.

You would have thought New South Wales had lost, the way they carried on about the referees (which, by the way, seems to be a given in rugby league these days – if we lost, it was the ref’s fault, nothing to do with the quality of our opposition).

refs

I agree that the referees have in fact been shit-house in both games, but it has gone both ways (like Beau Ryan?). Sure, a few dodgy calls went Queensland’s way in the dying minutes of Game One, but NSW clearly got the rub of it for the first 70.

Queenslanders then started this ridiculous nonsense about conspiracies, only furthering their justified reputation as sore losers (if we lost, there must be some deep, organised machinations conspiring against us!).

Brent Tate broke the unwritten rule of what happens on the field, stays on the field, in doing so outing himself as an incredible hypocrite and leading to Greg Bird actually being a voice of reason, which should never be the case, considering he is also on record as saying “the punches, the cheap shots, that’s what I love about the game.”

The whole thing was ugly and even a little pathetic. And the build up to Game Two was even worse.

There is so much hatred come Origin time it is ridiculous. Queensland and NSW have no cause to hate each other. They are pretty much the same people, except their bogans drink a different beer and Queensland’s rich tend to be a bit more country and conservative.

There might have been some cause 20 years ago, given the whole NSWRL v QRL thing, but you know, with three teams in the NRL, several Brisbane Bronco’s premierships and eight Origin victories in a row, maybe it is time Queensland got the fuck over it?

As the Middle East descends into chaos and our country is run by a xenophobic, homophobic, misogynist, narcissist (and no matter who you vote for, those are undeniable facts), maybe it’s time Queenslanders started caring about something more than an over-hyped game of football?

Queenslanders, a 'little bit more country'
Queenslanders, a ‘little bit more country’

I am all for friendly rivalries, but there is nothing friendly about Origin chat anymore. It has gone beyond banter to full on shit-slinging and blatant threats. How long before someone is actually killed during a game, either on or off the field?

And given NSW fans booed Brent Tate as he left the field with a potentially career ending injury, will the opposition even care? Or will they cheer? I don’t know if that young kid being shot in Sydney after the game really had anything to do with the match, but it would not surprise me one bit. It is (or was?) inevitable, should this hatred go unchecked.

It has never been more obvious than in Game Two itself.

Game Two was little more than a glamorous MMA bout under the guise of a rugby league match, with 34 highly unlikeable blokes beating the shit out of each other. I saw very little rugby league actually being played. I saw slaps, punches, forearms to the head, knees – the cheap shots Mr. Bird loves so dearly. Potentially crippling tackles. A cacophony of whinging. Yet very little I would consider entertaining.

I also saw two referees completely out of their depth. Seemingly adopting a holy fuck, let’s just get through this mentality. And who could blame them? They were on a hiding to nothing, and, given the way Paul Gallen approaches referees, probably thought they might actually cop a hiding.

On the topic of Paul Gallen, let’s not sugar-coat it: Paul Gallen is a c*nt. I am of the opinion that rugby league players should never be considered role models – and anyone who says that is an automatic failure as a parent – but the sooner this bloke is banished from our football fields, television screens and newspapers, the better.

But you are though
But you are though

This may seem like the moaning of a disappointed Queensland fan, but I assure you I had actually turned the game off while Queensland was ahead in Game Two. Sure, I had an inkling NSW might pinch it, but I was so over the whole thing I switched over and watched the end of some movie about the blokes from Monty Python. I so despised even the Queensland players that I no longer cared who won.

I have spoken before about the lack of likeable characters in the NRL, but there is now an alarming growth of unlikeable characters. It is a disturbing fact that a sizeable percentage of the players on the field last Wednesday have either been implicated, or charged with both sexual and physical assault against women.

Sure, most of them got off (the double entendre is intentional), but this may say more about our judicial system than anything else. It is hard to like these blokes, indeed it is even hard to remain neutral with a lot of them.

But maybe I am overthinking it. Should I just sit back and enjoy the ride? Have I fed my dark too much and now I need a little bit more yang to the yin? Maybe watching Origin is like watching a stripper, it’s best not to wonder too much about how she got there and what her uncle actually did to her, but just stare at her tits?* Maybe Paul Gallen isn’t a c*nt? Maybe.

But I’m pretty sure he is.

By Alasdair McClintock

* I am not suggesting all strippers have been molested, or do not enjoy their jobs, but there is an interesting correlation between strippers and rugby league players – both effectively sell their bodies; both usually have limited career options before, during and after; and both get frequently yelled and gawked at by drunk blokes.

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