Archive for the ‘State of Origin’ Category

Why [insert your state] will win State of Origin this year

Want your interstate ego stroked for Origin 2013?

Dane Eldridge and Paddy Effeney are two blokes from either side of the border, and they’ve decided to joust it out to determine which of their states is a stone cold moral certainty to varnish the shield in the sponsor’s product this year.

Effeney’s case for Maroon

I was challenged to a debate earlier this week by a fellow sports blogger and all round good guy Dane Eldridge. Given the measure of the man who made the request, I accepted the challenge. But to be honest, the very fact that he asked me to argue on such a topic is laughable.

Nevertheless, let the mud flinging begin…

The fact that I’m even deigning to write this piece ‘debating’ who’s going to win this year’s State of Origin is a measure of the respect and friendship I hold for my opposite mental jouster.

Unfortunately, years of sustained, bumbling buffoonery has meant that my team, the Queensland Maroons, hold little, if any, of the same for that excuse for a football team dressed in Blue.

Because in reality this series has devolved, unfortunately but necessarily in my view, into something more akin to a Harlem Globetrotters v Transylvania No-Hopers game than a genuine, meaningful contest.

This year's winners photo. Yes, even Petero wil be there

This year’s winners photo. Yes, even Petero wil be there

The Queenslanders don the famous colours, trot out onto the pitch, show everyone what they can do, score a few meat pies early, before dramatically letting the New South Welshmen back into the ‘contest’. The crowd feels good about it all as NSW show some fight and some heart, before the Queenslanders, through an outrageous piece of skill from one of their transcendent superstars, clinch the game and consign any false hope of a NSW victory to the dustbin.

Year after year, we hail this Queensland side as the best in history. So it goes, on and on.

Does it get tiresome being a perpetual winner? Yes is the short answer; no is the long one. But in either case, the question lacks meaning.

For you see, it’s no longer a question that’s in my hands; nor is it in the hands of any mortal. It hasn’t been since the start of Queensland’s historic seven-year run of victories.

It was long thought that NSW had the right to win State of Origin, and any Queensland victory had to be chalked up to either a blowing of a tire from the men in blue or a freak aligning of the football stars allowing the Maroons to sneak over the line.

NSW had it all. The money, the fame, the big players and pretty well all the professional teams worth their salt in the country.

It was from this neglect of the northernmost of Australians that the chip on the Queensland shoulder grew. Now that NSW don’t have their customary horde of superior players to choose from they are finding out that beating a superior side is tough when you don’t have an edge.

So don’t ask me who’s going to win this series in earnest. There’s only one side that’s going to show up with an edge, and it’ll be the blokes wearing maroon. They have the edge in character, in quality and in that bloody-minded determination to stick it up those who sneered down their cans of Tooheys New at them for so long.

What those folks holding cans of the strong stuff didn’t know was that the very fabric State of Origin was built upon was to be upturned.

There is a very basic principle State of Origin had to maintain to remain dynamic and interesting: the NSW team has to have better players. The opposite state would result in a decade of dominance, or so the prophecy foretold. And now, with the state of play as it is, we are seven years through.

That prophecy, reportedly inscribed on the inside of a XXXX can (note that it’s mid strength) that had been shotgunned by the King, Wally Lewis, told of a time when Queensland would show everyone just why passion in Origin is so valuable. It spoke of a team who would suffer 10 years in purgatory to teach them the ultimate Origin lesson: don’t take it for granted you smug bastards.

So while Johnathan Thurston, Greg Inglis, Cameron Smith, Billy Slater and Justin Hodges are still running around, Dane, you won’t have me biting on matters Origin.

It’s not because I don’t like shooting the proverbial about it; au contraire. It’s just that it would simply be a waste of both our time.

It’s been written in the stars. The result is forgone. Queensland win. Have a nice day.

Eldridge’s case for Blue

My dear blogging cohort Paddy Effeney is a sterling bloke who plays the forums hard but fair. I have the utmost respect for him and his fine literature, except for at Origin time. Because he’s from Queensland.

Even though my beloved NSW Blues sit at a woeful 0-7 after their last 7 hitouts, you will never see me do the Ben Creagh back-pedal when my cross border compatriot asks me to dance with him as a Harragon to his Bella.

Regardless of the fact there is virtually nothing to cling to other than the unlikely occurrence that his team is decimated by ASADA findings, I’m going to fight back against his hypnotic pro-maroon prose with a view through one sky blue eye.

So besides delusion, why do I think NSW are going to win this year’s series?

Dane Eldridge: Livin' on a prayer

Dane Eldridge: Livin’ on a prayer

It’s because I can see the writing on the wall from a country kilometre away. Cameron Smith and his smug bunch of yippee-yayers are ripe for a good old-fashioned ambushing, Queensland-style.

You see, the Maroons today are what NSW used to be. Flush with the finest personnel, facilities, fruit store mafia cash and theme parks that are the envy of the free world.

On the other hand, presently the Blues are what they used to be. A state with honest and serviceable talent stocks, just enough poker machine moolah for training kits and no Wonderland on the city’s outskirts.

The seven consecutive years of torment at the hands of a unit stacked like a 1992 NSW seconds side has consigned the southern state to being the have nots. The northerners, with their pretentious swag and ability to excel without a real coach, are the haves.

But in 2013, the humiliating comeuppance for the enemy is coming, and the blueprint for their demise has been lifted from one of their own.

It’s going to be a southern-style 1995 Fatty Vautin con job. Just replace your Wayne Bartrim with a Robbie Farah and your XXXX with Tooheys Blue.

Down here in the premier state, the collective rumble can be felt in the plums already.

For the first time in a while, those uncontrollable issues that exist on the periphery- sometimes non-tangible, often largely irrelevant and always most important to those lacking ability- seem to be playing out in NSW’s favour.

The big name Queensland cogs have been faltering in the lead-up, there’s panic over a picked pack that you need a magnifying glass to see, a couple of stars don’t know if they are coming or going, Johnathon Thurston’s kid is going to enter the world right on kick-off and all the while, Meninga is in Bundaberg cracking lame dad jokes about tropical fruit.

Compare this to Camp Blues, or ‘high performance paradise’ as it is currently known.

There’s a snarling forward pack full of athletes and leviathans, bustling backs high on confidence, an unscarred new coach who thinks nothing of horseback riding, and not a single bench spot being wasted on an expendable utility.

(We love you, Gids. There’s just no room for you.)

Compared to the tidy and well-kept palace of Laurie Daley’s digs, where Bach plays serenely on the gramophone while Greg Bird recites Dickens to a well-behaved squad, Mal Meninga’s dude ranch is in filthy frat-party disarray.

Right now, NSW are leading before kick-off, and all our boys have to do is just protect the buffer for 240 minutes.

With 99% of momentum in favour of Paul Gallen’s troops (I lopped off 1% for Shayne Hayne’s appointment), it’s apparent that the swarm of the underdog is upon you, Queensland. What was once your secret weapon spinach is now your kryptonite.

With these kinds of precursors and two games in Sydney’s rollicking colosseum, it’s all pointing to a famous triumph for the recently oppressed.

And if Maroons fans want to accentuate a positive, then just think about it this way. After the horrendous belting our boys inflict upon your fading outfit this year, all of the poor cousin traits so treasured by your state will be all yours again.

And really, isn’t that the way it should be?

With a rainmaking Blues win, the yearly interstate contest will finally return to its most popular format. An event that Queensland uses to repress their inferiority complex.

The Blues will return to their familiar role of affluent pantomime villain as everything goes against the downtrodden Maroons, just like old times.

And that, my friends, would mean we would be treated to two victories in this year’s series.

One for NSW, and one for rugby league.

You can follow these charming clowns on Twitter: Paddy @WarmingthePine and Dane @playup_roosters. You can also find Dane’s blog right here.

Vested interests XIII

Are you a staunch Tigers man? Or perhaps you like the Panthers? Or the Doggies? Whatever the case, the fans have been voicing their vested interests over the past couple of weeks about who should be in the New South Wales Origin team. Many of the suggestions have been as laughable as combining chocolate with chilli.

Here, I intend to name a XIII of players who should not play for NSW, possibly ever, but have been touted as possibilities by guys who love their club a little too much.

Note: I’m not saying any of the below players are bad, but origin? I think not.

Fullback – Tim Moltzen

After his performance against the Broncos a few weeks back I was surprised he was even in the running to be on the Wests Tigers contracted players list. I was even more surprised when a Tigers fan threw his name in the ring to be NSW fullback in a forum situation. Maybe if NSW wanted a fullback who didn’t take ownership of high balls and relished in making basic errors, Moltzen would be your guy.

Winger the first – Andrew Everingham

You’d have to be more than a passionate Bunny supporter to put this guy in sky blue; you’d have to have Russell Crowe tattoos, Holmes-a-Court shaped shlong piercings and an addiction of some sort (I don’t discriminate). His name may sound like ET’s, but he ain’t ET. One does not simply play origin in one’s first year of NRL. Sam Thaiday might not be Sauron, but don’t think he would miss Everingham the first time he took it up. He has an eye for puny wingers who don’t know what time it is.

It’s origin football, people!

Winger the second – Andrew Ettinghausen

Apparently this guy, as publicity for his new show coming out, has come out of origin retirement. He’d probably still do better than Everingham, even at 108 years old. Experience counts for a lot, ladies tell me.

Also, he’s played origin football before, and knows what origin football is about. He and Gus Gould could fucking tell you about it too.

Centre – Ben Pomeroy

A specialist line-breaker and bike-pant-wearer at the Sharks, what harm could possibly come in exposing old lopey-Pomeroy to the origin arena? The only harm I could think of is that he will be hopelessly caught out in defense, time and time again. He will resemble less a turnstile and more an empty space as the Queensland centre rolls past him on his way to he and his winger scoring three tries each; the winger scoring three only because Hodges was feeling generous and a little embarrassed for Pomeroy, so he tried unsuccessfully to shift some of the blame onto his winger. But we all know the winger wasn’t to blame.

Another Centre – Beau Scott

I love his attitude in defense! He is tough as they come and the first guy I would have next to me in the trenches were I ever engaged in war. Unfortunately there are no trenches on a football field, and centres are supposed to be able to attack. The fact that he runs as if he were on a treadmill makes me want NSW to pick him, just so I can laugh while Inglis orders a coffee, waits for it, eats a piece of banana bread, has a cigar, then decides to tackle Beau just as he reaches the gain line.

Also, he probably wouldn’t get on well with Tim Moltzen, being a staunch Dragons man. Cough.

Five Eighth – Jarry Mullen

As I recall, Jarry didn’t do too well on his origin debut. Despite everyone from Newcastle saying he was a better, drug free version of Andrew Johns, he didn’t play that way. What we unveiled was a drug free version of Andrew Johns who played nothing like Andrew Johns and had an allergy to the number 7 shirt. The fact that he has youth on his side doesn’t help either, with no one under thirty likely to get a run while Ricky Stuart attempts to build an arthritic spine for the future.

Note # Jarry spelled Jarry on purpose. Jarry’s a big fan of this blog. #

Halfback – Sam Williams

I saw a comment on Fox Sports that said the decision to pick Sam Williams was “easy.” I agree. He wasn’t even playing the starting XIII for the Raiders while McCrone and Campese were there. He didn’t get picked for City Country, but McCrone did. He has played about two games for the Raiders so far this year, and is only in his second year of NRL, and has not really done that much of note when he has played. Easy to pick though.

Props – Nothin’ but respect

Not being a fat man myself, I have a lot of respect for the big boppers of the NRL, mostly due to the fact that they could sit on me while I sleep and I wouldn’t wake up the next morning. I think it was Wayne Bennett who said that no prop in the NRL should be paid more than $350,000 (I do believe that comment came after Justin Poore got sold to the Eels for around $400,000. Bargain). Well let me be the first to say that any prop could play origin and not be out of place. Even you, George Rose.

Hooker – Mitch Rein

I know you like the Dragons, Dragons fan. Yes… yes, I know! You’ve said it ten times already. I realise you like the look of your players, and the way they scrub up in their fancy ‘Red V,’ whatever that means. Yes. Yes. I know. Just hang on a minute, you’re going to give yourself a contusion. But let me just say this. Mitch Rein may be playing well, and he may be fast, strong, and a tough-as-nails defender, but I will put my house on the fact that he will not play State of Origin this year or next. And no, Ben Hornby should not be NSW captain.

Back Row –

Unfortunately, I find it extremely difficult to make a joke about the ridiculous number of talented second-rowers at NSW’s disposal. As a Queensland fan, I’m just… jealous. Last year they had so many second-rowers that they picked a bunch of them as props and they won the game! Laughably people then considered this the end of  the big bopper and Queensland dominance. That was until origin three, where Matt Scott and Petero Civoniceva kept NSW pinned in their half for the first thirty minutes of the fixture. There was no coming back from that, no matter how many second-rowers NSW picked. I have, though, compiled a list of what I would think would be a pretty handy origin side made up entirely of eligible NSW second-rowers.

1. Tariq Sims  2. Blake Ayshford 3. Ben Creagh 4. Ryan Hoffman 5. Tony Williams  6. Feleti Mateo 7. Luke Lewis 8. Paul Gallen 9. Ryan Hinchcliffe 10. Nathan Hindmarsh 11. Anthony Watmough 12. Tom Leahroyd Lars 13. Glenn Stewart

I would put that team on the park and back it to do pretty well. Sure I took a few liberties, but who hasn’t in this prostitute infested world of ours?

Also, how good would Tariq Sims be at fullback?

Stand, spray and deliver.

Critiques from the arm chair