For what some are calling “the biggest game of Origin ever’’ tomorrow’s decider is decidedly low key.
What has happened to the “mate against mate’’ and “State against State’’ mentality that made State of Origin a world class sporting event – so big even the AFL is jealous of it.
Who would have thought that we’d miss Paul Gallen and his sledging of Queenslanders as people with two heads and other witticisms.
And the weirdest thing of all is a conspiracy theory that the concept is fine so long as the neanderthals from the deep north are winning.
If the sophisticated, rich and powerful state of NSW dominates, goes the theory, nobody’s interested.
But if little old Queensland triumph, well, that’s a great story of the underdog coming good.
But after almost 40 years of this caper most of us south of the border are sick and tired of such nonsense.
It’s all a Queensland plot anyway to lull Laurie Daley’s men into a false sense of security.
Their coach, Kevin Walters, is always saying nice things about the Blues and their coach, but should we believe him?
Apparently we do, and no doubt tomorrow night they will have a lovely little ambush prepared for our boys.
Now to the business, a Top 5 of State of Origin, gee, that is harder than the Blues winning deciders at Lang Park, sorry, Suncorp Stadium.
More like a Top 50 moments would be needed to do it justice.
But we only have five, so let’s rock and roll.
Number 1. The very first State of Origin in 1980, a brutal affair and won by Queensland it secured the concept’s success for goodness knows how many decades; maybe for ever.
Number 2. The Wally Lewis and Mark Geyer “dance’’ in 1991. Neither took a backward step. That image said so much about Origin and still does to an extent.
Number 3. Phil Gould’s dramatic call to arms just before each game, with the Channel 9 camera doing a 360 degree turn as he spoke. Not a fan of Gus, generally speaking, but this was brilliant.
Number 4. Health fanatic Wayne Pearce is put in charge of the Blues, so instead of bonding via drinking sessions, Junior takes the boys to the Megalong Valley for some horse riding. Forwards Brad Clyde and Robbie Kearns fall of the horse and miss the first game of the 1999 series.
Number 5. Wally Lewis. Hate to admit it but even though fans chanted “Wally’s a wanker’’ whenever he played in Sydney, he personifies Origin. Go watch some old footage of Wally in the maroon colours and you will see why.