Dead In Goal’s Ori­gin Pre­view

Inside Sport - - Contents - BY THE E DITORS

We bring our rugby league pod­cast to pa­per to take stock of this year’s NSW-Queens­land clash.

James Smith: So in 2000, I went on a World Cup sup­port­ers’ tour. The tour group got on so well that we had a num­ber of fol­low-up re­union events. One of the re­unions was in 2001; we caught up for Ori­gin, the year that Al­lan Langer made his emer­gency SOS re­turn to the Queens­land side. The game was at the old QEII in Bris­bane. The whole place feels as if it’s tem­po­rary – you walk up to your seat and it’s like you’re step­ping up on those steel seats you had at pri­mary school. You could feel the grand­stand move be­neath you. It was awe­some.

Al­fie had the night of his life. The Blues scored one of the fastest tries in the his­tory of the game, af­ter just 40 sec­onds, but then it was all Queens­land from there. Any­way, we got flogged and I had my Blues jer­sey on and we were about to get on our bus to go back into the city and this lit­tle kid came up to me. He said, “Wow, do you support New South Wales, do ya?” And I said yeah, think­ing what a friendly lit­tle lo­cal. And he said: “Wow, they re­ally suck, don’t they?” Un­til I hooked up with a Queens­lan­der later on in life, it was my dom­i­nant mem­ory of how “friendly” Queens­lan­ders were …

Jeff Cen­ten­era: I grew up out­side of the two great states that con­sti­tute this ri­valry, so I didn’t get to watch it grow­ing up. The first Ori­gin match I re­ally felt a part of was when I was go­ing to uni in Queens­land. I had been liv­ing over­seas for the pre­vi­ous five years, so I was look­ing for­ward to game one in 1995.

It just so hap­pened that my first chance to watch this great show­case co­in­cided with the Su­per League split. Al­most the en­tire first-choice Ma­roons’ side was out of com­mis­sion, be­cause they weren’t aligned with the ARL. I re­mem­ber there was a sense of hope­less­ness in Queens­land – they felt they didn’t even have a team, and it was be­ing coached by Paul Vautin, no less.

Damned if they go out and win that match, 2-0. It was dour, but it pro­duced a fair bit of Ori­gin lore: Ben Ikin show­ing up and Fatty not know­ing who he was, Billy Moore scream­ing “Queens­lan­der”, Gary Lar­son’s iron­man per­for­mance. It left me with an idea for all time about Ori­gin – even when it’s bad, it can still be pretty great.

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