THEY SAY THE BEST THING TO COME OUT OF NEW SOUTH WALES IS THE ROAD TO QUEENSLAND. NOW IT’S TIME TO PROVE OUR FOOTY PLAYERS DO IT BETTER, TOO
State against state, mate against mate. It’s the footy game that has the ability to bring even the biggest sport-hating fan to the pub to watch a footy game. If Queenslanders speak as loudly as they did in the recent election, I’m pretty sure the NSW team has got a fight on its hands. I love the passion and rivalry, especially in a world where we seem to be getting more and more vanilla. It’s nice to have something to get revved up about. I love the hype that comes along with it all. Seriously, everything from Queensland coach Kevin Walters saying: “this is war, we are ready” to the slow-motion footage of the players looking like a trailer for the next Marvel movie. You can easily sit back and say the build-up and emotion is lame, but don’t do that this time. Enjoy the ride, paint your face, have your friends over to watch the game and get into it. Can I tell you a funny little footy story that I recently told on the radio? I went to have coffee with my eldest sister. She went up to order her coffee and asked for a “try laté”. Of course she meant a chai laté, but unfortunately for her, she has thought it was “try” her whole life. I just love the thought of her name being called out to collect her coffee by the great Ray “Rabs” Warren the way he comments on a New Zealand Warriors game. “What an intercept by the white sugar right in to warma-laté, here it comes and gotta-put-a-lid-on”. Anyway I’m really excited about this year’s Origin, so let’s get into it. Queenslander!
There has been a lot of smack talk about this year’s Queensland State of Origin team. That coach Kevvy is “too emotional”, that they “have no chance without the fabulous 5 (JT, Cronk, Smith, Inglis and Slater)” and, “on paper NSW have the bigger, better side”. Well you know what, it’s that kinda’ talk that excites me ahead of this year’s 38th series. State of Origin is the ultimate exponent of the game of rugby league, the pinnacle of what is arguably the last gladiatorial sport. State against state, mate against mate. For the first time in more than a decade, Queensland will go in as underdogs and I couldn’t be happier. Let’s face it, belting NSW year in year out was getting a tad boring. Sure, winning is fun, but it was starting to feel like Clive Palmer v Grant Denyer in a see-saw competition. In true Queensland spirit when they run out onto Lang Park on Wednesday night, the blood will run maroon and we will get swept up in the colour, excitement and emotion of it all. Regardless of what the pundits south of the border say, it’s the same number of players on both sides, playing on the same field with the same ball. In the end it’ll come down to heart, head and hands aligning. The team that wants it more, the team that plays as one and the team prepared to put it all on the line for their mates. The culture created by Mal Meninga, a culture of mateship, self-belief and respect of where they have come from. So while there is no Slater or Thurston, the stage is set for the new breed of superstars to stamp their authority on the game. Before you know it, we will be using names like Ponga and Noosa product Mbye to start the next dynasty... sorry NSW.
As Queenslanders it’s in our blood, we love footy. When I think of winter, I think of snuggles on the couch with a hot roast and a good game of footy. So, when there is mid-week footy, it’s even more exciting. State of Origin game one happens this Wednesday night with the first game kicking off in Brisbane, the next in Perth then we will round up the series in Sydney. I know you just went back to re-read that last sentence…perth? What the? Yep, they’re trying to expand the game by sending it to Perth on a Sunday arvo. Now, while I don’t mind that it’s on neutral ground, I don’t know if you can take it as far away as Perth unless you’re going to take the game to great lengths by promoting the heck out of it. Perth is such an Afl-mad city that it’s going to be a hard one to turn around. If you haven’t had a chance to read the team lists going into game one, then get excited. It’s a younger squad but I’m really excited to see Moses Mbye play. He’s a Sunny Coast boy, having played out of the Noosa Pirates and he will debut for the Maroons in number 14 as a utility. The coaches said Moses was a very exciting player and that he was so versatile, which earned him his place in the squad. It seems to be out with the old and in with the new. After so many years of great leadership from the Maroons and amazing players who have given us countless titles, it’s now over to the young ones to bring us home the trophy.
TUNE IN FOR DAVE, SAM AND ASH ON HOT 91.1 ON WEEKDAYS FOR BREAKFAST FROM 5.30AM.