More than just footy
COMMISERATIONS to all of us who pinned our pride and hope on the backs of the valiant Cowboys on Sunday.
Although they lost the match, as it turned out in the end, the club had already achieved far more than most people would have credited at the start of the season.
The Cowboys carry an entire region with them every time they run on to the field, and it’s not just the usual sentiment that follows any or other club in the league.
The are the sole representatives in this league of a huge area. As explained on our back page today, the ongoing existence of the Cowboys is more than a sporting matter.
The people who saved the club saw it as vital to the prospects of the region – if the place can’t support a team in a national league, it’s probably not worth investing in.
So we owe the Cowboys club such a huge amount.
I’m no expert on NRL but one thing watching the match brought home to me was a curious anomaly about the whole affair.
For the Cowboys, it was a regional contest. They represented the Far North. The Storm -- well, yes, Melbourne, but in a lesser way.
The fact that so much damage was inflicted on the Cowboys by three Queensland players underlines my point -- for one team it was basically a professional engagement, and for the other it was more like the State of Origin -- it was about where you’re from. The Storm players were playing for a club. The Cowboys played for a whole region.
I see more clearly than ever why the State of Origin series is such a passionate affair. That’s when the talented products of a place line up where they should, instead of the wrong side.
All of it is professional football, of course, and perfectly legitimate.