If you were born on the East Coast of Australia, anywhere more northerly than Albury, there’s a chance you’ve embraced the State of Origin concept at some time in your life. An interest in sport helps – but without one there’s little chance you’d be reading this anyway.
Growing up in the western suburbs of Sydney during the early 90s, rugby league took centre stage. The Sydney Swans were a joke team in the AFL and the Western Sydney Wanderers wouldn’t exist for another 20 years. When Origin time rolled around, club preferences were put aside and we all united behind the State.
The early years were spent on the lounge room floor of the family home, watching some of the historic names of the game – Langer, Fittler, and even my personal favourites Brad Mackay, Rod Wishart and the Chief. I was awestruck by the spectacle of a game that both united and divided, and nearly always delivered an exciting match (that NSW typically won).
As the teenage years came around the Origin spectacle remained, but instead of being with the family at home it was time to watch it with mates, indulging in pizza and booze, cracking up while listening to Roy & HGs The Call on the radio.
Then came my 20’s, where much time was spent working in hospitality. Origin nights were quiet in the restaurant, but there was always work to be done, and my investment in the series seemed to correlate to NSWs chances of winning, which grew smaller and smaller each year.
I love Origin, I embrace it when I can – but I had never actually been to a game. Ha! And I call myself a New South Welshman!
All that changed this year. Continue reading