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3 days ago
"Michael, you must be looking forward to tonight's game. Gold Coast versus Brisbane, so it doesn't really matter who wins, right? They're both Queenslanders!"
Welcome to the "Queenslander" school of thought that I have had to deal with since the Titans entered the competition. Welcome to my struggle to be accepted in hating the Titans, as any proper NRL tragic hates thy neighbour.
The first train of thought is inexplicably common amongst folk north of the border. The same thing that binds us together, builds our passion and unifies our voices on three nights of the year somehow flows on to become a 24/7 complex for so many people. I have always failed to see the argument for supporting other Queensland teams, simply because they happen to be based in the same state.
Sure, I could understand the version of pity and sympathy that many Broncos fans felt for the Cowboys for many years. In their first years, they had no success against us, and very little against any other team. Seen as the competition's battlers, many Broncos fans loved them like you would love a wayward little brother who gives his all, but never achieves much. That feeling remains for many, despite the Cowboys becoming a dominant force in the competition.
I am always astounded by this logic. Can no one else here see that the NRL is a completely different competition to State of Origin? Surely the concept is not too hard to grasp! I am also a massive fan of the Kangaroos, but that doesn't mean I like or support all NRL teams that are based in Australia.
Above all else, when it comes to the Titans, I fail to see how Queenslanders explain their state support for a team boasting the likes of Preston Campbell, Mark Minichiello and Anthony Laffranchi to name but a few.
"Michael, it's pretty clear what your problem is. You are threatened by the Gold Coast, and you don't want them to be successful because that will impact on the Broncos."
Here comes the cry from south of the border. After being lambasted by my fellow Queenslanders for not loving "one of my own", I've had muppets from all parts of New South Wales bring up the past history of the Broncos as a club, transferring that arrogance onto me.
Thanks, guys, but I was well aware of my club's history. I vaguely remember Super League, solely because I'm forced to defend why I stuck by my team throughout those dangerous and desolate few years for the game. Hell, I was 11 years old when the war broke out in late 1995, but I guess that's no excuse, right?
I don't know what amazes me more about these statements, whether it's the insinuation that myself and my team want a monopoly in southern Queensland, or the fact that every single supporter of these New South Wales-based teams is free to enjoy their local derby with as much ferocity as they please.
According to these people, any Broncos fan who hates the Titans is an egomaniacal, dominating bully who doesn't want to see our game thriving in south-east Queensland. Yet, for some reason, they are allowed to vigorously and passionately despise their neighbouring team, whether it be a Dragons fan's opinion on Cronulla, or the feeling that Rabbitohs tragics have towards the Roosters.
I dare suggest I've already been branded a whinging Queenslander by many, so I'll stop the rant at this juncture. But, please, let me finally plead my case before I sign off.
I have supported the Brisbane Broncos since the start, and was attending games with my father before my fourth birthday in 1988. But, even more, I am a supporter of the NRL, and have been so pleased and excited by the competition's growth and strength in Queensland over the past decade.
For all of the things that my team has achieved, I have always been so jealous of Sydney clubs because of the wonderfully entrenched and passionate local derbies scattered throughout the city. I want the Gold Coast Titans to remain a success both on and off the field, so we can share and enjoy many fierce encounters on the field and in the stands for decades to come.
Queenslanders, New South Welshman and people from all around, hear my plea...
Let me hate them, please!